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Leveraging Mobile Technology for Patient Retention

by Melynda Geurts

In my last post, I provided a quick overview of the 3 primary trends that are currently shifting the patient recruitment and retention landscape. Today, I’d like to dive deeper into one of those trends: the use of mobile technology for patient retention.

Those of us who live in the clinical research industry know all too well that the end game of a successful clinical trial is to maintain the required amount of study participants throughout the course of the trial. The relationship that the study coordinator and Investigator forge with the patient and his/ her caregiver, as appropriate, is absolutely critical in ensuring patient engagement and compliance. Until recently, maintaining the necessary level of engagement was entirely a manual process. The advent of mobile technology has reduced the burden to study staff and has created an automated and efficient way for the study staff to communicate with patients while away from the office.

One may find themselves questioning the applicability and utilization of these services among your patients, especially among older patient populations. According to the Pew Research Center, “30% of adults age 65+ and 54% of those ages 50-64 years old have looked online for health information in the past year (compared with 67% of adults ages 30-49 and 72% of adults 18-29 years old).” Moreover, 12 percent of adults aged 50–65 use text messaging daily and this number is growing daily. Similarly, a retention app used in a mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease study targeting both the patient and caregiver was utilized by 55% of study participants and caregivers.

[pullquote]85% reported that they would prefer to receive a text message about their next visit”[/pullquote]

Mobile technology allows researchers to continue to put educational information into the hands of study participants and it greatly reduces attrition rates, which is vital to the study’s success. Using text messaging for study visit reminders has improved appointment attendance by 38%. Furthermore, in a survey of study participants, 85% reported that they would prefer to receive a text message about their next visit and 82% said they would like a phone call from the research staff.

This data validates the adoption of mobile technology not only by the industry but by those who matter the most—the patient. Therefore, if these patient engagement and compliance solutions are made available to the site, it’s highly encouraged to take advantage of the offering. These solutions are proven to increase efficiencies at the site and increase overall study compliance by the patients.

My team and I have recently put together an infographic to demonstrate our top tips for successful mobile strategies. Find out exactly how to implement a successful retention strategy using mobile technologies. You can learn more and view the infographic here. 

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