“Bring your own device”, or BYOD, is becoming a new trend in clinical trials. Sponsors, CROs, and investigators are starting to realize the ease and utility that BYOD brings to trial planning and operation. In a recent study by Icon, the majority of respondents were not concerned or were only very minimally concerned about the practical and technical challenges presented by BYOD. Overall, the benefits seem to outweigh the concerns; the ability for patients to use a familiar device wins out. Therefore, text messaging is the ultimate tool for BYOD in clinical trials: it is familiar, it is simple and straightforward, and it it drives patient engagement on multiple fronts.
The familiar face of text messaging
Text messaging is familiar. As of December 2015, 156.7 billion text messages were sent per month (CTIA). Clinical trial participants are more than used to sending and receiving texts on their own devices. In fact, it is ingrained in everyday life for most people. For that reason, using the combination of BYOD and text messaging allows patients to stay connected with the trial at all times without having to think.
No new apps or downloads necessary
When patients use technology in clinical trials, there are two main hindrances: learning to use new devices and learning to use new software. BYOD takes away the need for patients to use new devices, and text messaging takes away the need for patients to use new software. Texting is an app-free, no-new-downloads technology that is simple and straightforward. Site staff and patients alike save time and energy by eliminating the new technology training element from clinical trials.
Here’s where text messaging really becomes the ultimate tool for BYOD: it is useful for multiple forms of engagement. Sites can send text messaging reminders, alerts, and surveys directly to the patient’s device. Even ePRO can be performed via text. Text messaging allows for constant two-way communication between the patient and the site. When patients BYOD, it’s easy for them to immediately see text messages and respond within seconds.
In conclusion, if you try BYOD, pair it with text messaging. The two together allow your patients to be more comfortable with and more engaged in your trial.