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5 Ways Text Messaging Improves Public Health Research Studies

With Public Health research studies on the rise, it is only a matter of time before secure text messaging is used in these studies to increase effectiveness and ease. As matters of Public Health tend to be common amongst the greater population, text messaging can aid in reaching this wide population of research participants.

Here are five ways that text messaging improves Public Health research studies by reaching patients:

1. Behavior Modification

Studies have shown that secure text messaging positively impacts both disease prevention and disease management. Simple reminders such as “Take your Vitamin D pill today” as well as more complex systems of follow-up for weight loss and smoking cessation intervention have both had positive outcomes. The behavior of patients with preventable diseases studied in Public Health research studies can be positively modified using secure text messaging.

2. Automated Notifications and Alerts

90% of text messages are opened and read within 10 minutes of being received, making it the perfect mobile channel for delivering helpful health information. Whether educational or motivational, text message content can be scheduled in advance to be sent at regular intervals. If the SMS provider has two-way text messaging capabilities, the patient can even reply back or take a text message survey to continue the conversation or provide helpful data.

3. Appointment Reminders

In any research study, especially ones in matters of public health with many patients, appointment reminder calls can take up a large portion of time in the day. Research staff is taken away from more important tasks by making multiple phone calls, attempting to reach patients during normal business hours, when the patients themselves are normally at work. Appointment reminder secure text messages, however, are received by a patient immediately, even if he or she is at work. Using an alert system, this process is quick, easy, and extremely effective.

4. Medication Adherence Reminders

Medication adherence problems result in 33-69% of hospital admissions in the US, costing about $100 billion per year (source). With dosing reminders being utilized in more clinical trials as a matter of protocol compliance, secure text messaging is showing its value by assisting patients in keeping healthy and reducing ER visits by taking their medications.

5. Help Textlines

For research studies focused on Public Health issues where patients may need guidance around the clock, help textlines can be set up. One research staff member can be designated as the “on-call” team member. Whether for weight loss struggles, smoking cessation, or mental health issues, sending a text is an easy way for a patient to reach out for help–especially since many people now consider phone calls more daunting with the increase of text messaging and less face-to-face or voice interaction. These secure text conversations can lead to a phone or face-to-face conversation if the on-call staff member deems one necessary and the patient agrees.

 

For more information on integrating secure text messaging into your Public Health research study, visit http://www.mosio.com/research.

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