7 Ways to Increase Clinical Trial Patient Engagement with SMS & Messaging Apps

Most of us agree that a clinical trial’s success depends heavily on patient engagement. The importance of design patient-centric studies cannot be understated. Engaged patients make for successfully completed studies—with better quality data and more accurate results in general.

SMS and other messaging apps seamlessly integrate into clinical trials, increasing patient compliance and patient retention—the automation increases efficiency and saves study teams time, while also reducing costs for sites/sponsors overall.

Take advantage of one of the most utilized features on a mobile device with Clinical StudyPal’s solutions. For example, here are seven (7) ways to use automated SMS/messaging to increase clinical trial patient engagement:

1. Send Appointment Reminders to Boost Patient Compliance

Sending an automated message to your patients prior to their site visits, helps to reduce the number of no-shows and last-minute cancellations. These messages can be customized for each specific study and their needs. You can choose to send a text one week prior to the appointment as a first-reminder and send a message 24-hours prior to their appointment as a second reminder—or whatever schedule works for your site and your patients. Patients can respond to texts, confirming with a “yes” or “no” (e.g., “Y/N”). Given that 23% of all phone calls go to voicemail, messaging is a great way to stay in touch with your patients—improving patient compliance and retention.

2. Medication Adherence Reminders

Text messages can be sent to remind patients of when and how they should be taking their study-specific medications. Patient engagement is increased by allowing them to respond with their own text to confirm or deny compliance. Increased adherence to protocol is an additional benefit of using text messaging features within Delve Health’s Clinical StudyPal platform.

3. Send Patient Satisfaction Surveys

It’s important to periodically check-in with your patients. Implementing a patient-centric approach starts by collecting feedback from patients directly regarding what will make the clinical trial process better for them. Sending text-based surveys gives you a glimpse into your patient’s firsthand experiences regarding their unique participation within your trial. Staff can also utilize survey results to help spot patients struggling with adherence and pinpoint those who might need extra support, in real-time. Survey results can be combined with “nudge” notifications to send out a specific messages to patients to encourage them when certain conditions are met.

4. Use Messaging as a Tool to Motivate or Appreciate Your Patients

Clinical trials, especially those longer in nature, require a patient’s dedication. Take a moment to acknowledge and recognize their commitment to the trial and their efforts by further motivating them via messaging. If your patient feels supported and appreciated, they’ll be more likely to put forth their best effort to comply with research protocol and see the study through to completion.

5. Utilize Gamification as an Aid to Ensure Long-term Retention

Gamification in tech, healthcare, and especially wearables, is on the rise. It keeps patients interested and motivated. Texting is a great way to notify patients that they have reached a new stage of the trial (e.g., “leveling-up”), and are being rewarded for their commitment. You can also use messaging to communicate “what’s next” to patients, so they know what they need to do to reach the next level. There are many ways to integrate text messaging with gamification techniques, so you can get creative without overcomplicating the process or burdening your study’s staff.

6. Deliver Incentives

Whether tied in with gamification or just a method of increasing patient engagement, text messaging allows you to deliver incentives directly to your patients. Receiving a gift code or notification that a reward has been sent via messaging is both efficient and rewarding. The majority of people have their mobile device within arm’s reach most of the day, so rewards and incentives are literally at your patient’s fingertips. Gift codes from Amazon or other vendors can be sent automatically after a desired action (e.g., a completed site visit, survey completion, etc.), or some systems can be integrated with pre-paid Visa cards or “Clincard” technologies for a seamless process.

7. Automated Check-Ins

You can program monthly or quarterly messages to be sent to patients, appearing to come from your study’s coordinator. Study staff check-ins help keep patients accountable, increase their compliance to protocols, and engage patients in the study process until completion.

Implementing an SMS/messaging solution, customized for your unique clinical study’s needs, can be a relatively easy and inexpensive tool to incorporate for a more patient-centric approach. To learn more about what Delve Health’s end-to-end solution, Clinical StudyPal can do for your unique clinical trial, please schedule a demo with us here or e-mail us at contact@delvehealth.com.


Our Co-Founder & CEO, Wessam Sonbol's, article on how the advances of biotechnology via wearables, medical devices, biosensors, and the passive collection of patient data are changing how we design clinical trials.

Technology Advances How We Design Clinical Trials: Wearables, Devices, and Data

Our article, written by our Co-Founder and CEO, Wessam Sonbol, CSM, CSPO, ICP-ACC, in the Association of Clinical Research Professionals’ (ACRP) Clinical Researcher. Originally
remote clinical trials | Delve Health

7 Ways to Increase Clinical Trial Patient Engagement with SMS & Messaging Apps

Most of us agree that a clinical trial’s success depends heavily on patient engagement. The importance of design patient-centric studies cannot be understated. Engaged
eConsent allows for video conferencing.

The Rise of eConsent Forms and its Impact on Patient Recruitment

Informed consent is one of the founding principles of research ethics. Its intent is that human participants can partake in medical research freely (i.e., voluntarily)
Delve Health delivers wearables directly to patients all over the world.

Delivering Devices and Safely Collecting Real-World Data (RWD)

Can we say something more around why we are focusing on collecting raw data from Wearables? Wearables are being implemented in more and more
banner | Delve Health

Are Wearables a Fade OR Are They Our Future?

Wearables in clinical research is a “hot topic” and all the “buzz.” While many people feel it will propel the clinical research enterprise into

What is eConsent

Defining eConsent in Clinical Trials The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has defined electronic informed consent (eConsent) in clinical trials as “the use of