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SMS Text Messaging is Key as Clinical Trials Patient Engagement Tool

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At the start of this month, Eric Lazar, VP of Mobile CRM, wrote an article titled, “Why old-school Telehealth SMS is still a powerful mobile marketing tool.”  In the article, he outlines the slight obsession that the general population has with mobile technology. Okay, make that a huge obsession.

Lazar brings up nomophobia, a fear of being out of mobile phone contact. Yes, that exists! Apparently, more people would rather stop brushing their teeth for a week than give up their mobile phone. Paired with the finding from an eMarketer & comScore study that participants use their phone overwhelmingly more for texting than any other application, it is clear that SMS is the perfect avenue for Telehealth marketing.

Telehealth Marketing… in Clinical Trials?

Telehealth Marketing can help cure people. It is an effective way to let people know about clinical trials, get participants involved, and retain patients on studies.  As Noel Chandler, CEO and Founder of Mosio, Inc., says, “Recruiting and Retention is a challenge in clinical research that will remain and the fix is and will always be marketing and relationships. Patient engagement.”  The best way to reach out to current and potential participants is to use the technology that they cannot live without – SMS.

An SMS Call To Action

Lazar brings up the ‘SMS to the rescue’ point of view in his article: SMS call-to-action messaging is the easiest marketing strategy.  These messages are simple, clear interactions with people, at the request and with the permission of the participant. This is a no-spam system because the participant elects to receive messages.

Here’s one Telehealth scenario: A woman with Type II Diabetes is sitting on the bus on her way to work. She is feeling let down and worn out because her medications do not seem to be helping her anymore. She sighs, glances upward, and finds an advertisement for a clinical trial using a new combination of FDA-approved diabetes medications. On the advertisement is a number to text for more information; so, with a smile, she pulls out her phone and types in the number.

Simple. Clear. Action.

SMS As A Communications Gateway

The first Telehealth text is only one of many possible interactions. SMS is an easy way to obtain email addresses, set up pre-screening appointments, or answer short questions and concerns about clinical trials.

On a deeper level, texts can hold pictures and videos, or link to websites or surveys.  If you have a short video clip relating to the trial, a text-friendly informational photo, or a link to your website, it can be included in SMS marketing strategy. Lazar describes the SMS gateway, “SMS becomes a truly interactive medium of push and pull to deliver information, tips… alerts and rewards… contests, surveys…”

Texts aren’t just a one-dimensional entity. Patient information and interest can be gathered, conversations can be started so that potential patients can receive the help that they need, and clinical trial information can be more widespread.

Connecting and Engaging

Patients are connected and engaged through SMS; they are more involved and more committed to clinical trials. This is the best way to increase both recruiting and retention – by marketing specifically to those in need for a particular clinical trial and providing an easy avenue to keep communication open.  After all, isn’t communication the best way to build and keep a working, steady relationship?

 

Learn more about integrating SMS into your clinical trials with Mosio, Inc., and get a free consultation/quote at http://www.mosio.com/biz/solutions/research.

Author: Emily Waller holds an Honors B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, has worked on numerous clinical trials, and as a medical & technical writer.  She writes to promote innovative ideas in healthcare, technology, and research within the online community.  She also loves photography, neuroscience, and household DIY projects.

Want to learn more on telehealth? Join the Patient Recruitment and Retention (PR+R) Group on LinkedIn!

Get a quote for Mosio’s patient engagement solutions.
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