Clinical Trials Improved By SMS
Recruitment and retention are ongoing problems for clinical trials, which forces the research organizations to constantly be working on outreach and communications with the patients. Despite numerous proposed strategies for effective recruitment, this continues to be a major challenge. There are patients with communications problems such as the lack of home internet (in order to receive email updates).
Clinical Trial Recruitment Using Mobile
Recruiting patients for clinical trials can take a significant amount of time. So much so that you lose those potential patients along the way. “UCSF Participant Recruitment Service reported that almost 2/3 of potential patients are lost to follow-up because they do not hear back about their study eligibility quickly enough.” (from Mosio).
Large pharmaceutical companies have chosen to address the issue of recruitment by using the technology available in these potential patients’ pockets – their mobile device. Using traditional media such as print advertisements, referral networks and digital ads, they will integrate text messaging as a way to initially engage with these potential patients. It will also serve as a way to keep in touch during the clinical trial.
Clinical Trial Retention Using Mobile, Especially Text Messaging
During mHealth Summit, Mike Shilling, Director of Business Development for Exco InTouch, shared three examples of mobile-enabled clinical trials. One of the trials required caregivers to fill out a daily diary about the health of their child in relation to flu symptoms. They leveraged SMS text message reminders to drive the caregivers to fill out the diary each day, and the caregivers were using their own device (68% on their mobile phone and 16% on a personal laptop or desktop computer).
“BYOD [Bring Your Own Device] enabled a lot of subjects to participate in the study, Shilling said. Because so many of these caregivers had mobile devices, the site did not have to take on the task of calling each of them individually every single day. The system also alerted the site if a diary was late or incomplete each day — real-time monitoring that is nearly impossible with paper-based diaries.” (from MobiHealth News)
Mobile is Improving Medical
The benefits of text messaging and other mobile tools for the medical field are clear. The growth potential that these tools bring to the field of clinical trials is exciting, and hopefully more companies to see the opportunity as the trail blazers show results.
“[Clinical trials] is the appropriate vector to begin to use some of these [digital health technologies], because they are already a well-funded, well-trodden way to test out new approaches in research,” Hendricks said. “We think there is something beyond that. We call on the industry to move more aggressively in exploring the use of these technologies for … better management of chronic disease.” (from MobiHealth News)