Many of us recognize REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture software), created and managed by Vanderbilt University, as a leading tool for building and managing online surveys and databases. This secure, web-based data collection software is often utilized by research clients who want to create successful, organized, and efficient projects.
Mosio works with many clients to integrate its two-way text messaging software for research into REDCap. Whether you are a REDCap Admin, Developer at your organization looking for new ideas, or a research team looking for interesting ways to integrate text messaging into your research projects via REDCap, we hope you’ll find a nugget or two in the list below.
Here are 11 ways we think text messaging makes your REDCap-utilized studies even more powerful:
SMS surveys sent to study participants makes collecting data easy and efficient. Patients can respond to survey questions via text with a simple alphanumerical response, Y or N (yes or no) or create their own free response. A text message is a hassle-free way to eliminate common multi-step processes (sending participants a paper or e-mail survey to mail back to study coordinator) that make patients less likely to respond.
- Link-to-Survey Text: Text messaging also gives you the option to send participants a link to a more in-depth, web-based SMS surveys. Since most mobile device users utilize smart phones with web access, it’s easy to click on your text link and complete the survey right then and there.
- Survey Reminders: To further ensure a response, you have the option to send an automated message if the survey hasn’t been completed within a certain time frame. This extra step can increase participant responses, increasing your overall data collection.
Text alerts can get your message across to both large groups or certain individuals. Alerts provide an excellent opportunity to recruit participants or advertise your study. You have the option to send broad or targeted alerts based on study demographics. Alerts can also be used to send important information to all participants in a single study.
Text-based reminders help keep your study participants on track. You can send a reminder for almost anything: appointment reminders, medication reminders, participant stat-tracking, journaling, and at-home self-testing.
- Appointment Reminders: Appointment reminders delivered via text message have the ability to drastically reduce missed appointments. Voicemail and e-mail reminders can often go unchecked until it’s too late. A text reminder increases the chance of your appointment reminder being seen, noted, and followed-up.
- Medication Adherence: Patient medication adherence is extremely important in producing accurate study results. Sending out a text reminder is a non-intrusive way to remind patients to take their medication. You also have the option to take your text a step further by asking patients to respond with a simple alphanumerical character if they have taken their medication on that particular day. Increased patient medication compliance leads to more accurate data for your study.
- Study Compliance Reminders: Studies rely on patient compliance. Those who work in research put forth an incredible amount of effort into creating a study protocol, but ultimately, the study’s success comes down to the most important group of individuals in the process: The participants. Text messaging increases compliance by directly engaging participants, making it easier for them to stick with the study (reminders, alerts,) and giving them timely advice, information and updates. SMS messaging creates an opportunity for participants to feel supported and guided, making them more likely to adhere to study protocols.
These messages are timed and based on your study protocol. Certain days, weeks, or months of your study require different efforts from your patients. A text-based intervention may be useful in making participants aware of any important changes they may have to make during the course of the study (medication dosage, lifestyle changes,) or even making patients aware of testing results and the need to make changes based on these results.
Collect Data via Mobile Photos
Mobile photo messaging gives you another route to obtain important data. Although texting a photo can’t always take the place of an in-person site visit or appointment, there are times when it can be an extremely helpful substitute. You can ask patients to respond to text with pictures of medications to help ensure compliance, a photo of their health/symptom tracking journal, or even at-home test results (vital signs or blood glucose testing, for example.)
Motivate and Retain Study Participants
Encouragement and continuous motivation are both extremely important for research study participants. Send a text to let them know how much you appreciate their participation in the study. Participants volunteer their time, energy and health to further clinical research, so make sure to remind them how their dedication is making a positive impact.
Reward study participants with gift codes of your choice via SMS text. Texting a gift code makes rewards easily and immediately accessible. Offer incentive for completing your surveys on time, attending appointments, texting photographical data or fulfilling any of your important study requirements.
Text Messages Triggered from 3rd party Software or Devices
Combining data collection software with text messaging and third party software is where things can truly become innovative. You can send an SMS to remind patients to sync their wearable devices (fitness tracking, heart rate or blood pressure monitoring.) As more labs and testing facilities allow for direct-to-patient services, you can auto-text patients to inform them that blood test results are ready, or testing outcomes are available to view. Text allows for information and data sharing in an extremely efficient manner.
While we’ve brought up 11 ways text messaging can enhance and integrate with REDCap and research data collection software, the options are limitless. We encourage both current and potential clients to get creative in thinking of ways to integrate text messaging with their own unique study goals. Contact Mosio’s Development team. We’d love to discuss how text messaging can augment the success of your REDCap-utilized studies.
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