The explosion in text messaging can help to attract more patients into clinical trials and to keep them there, says US-based specialist Axiom Accelerated Patient Recruitment.

“Mobile device outreach is the future of patient recruitment, due to the growth and convenience of this rapid-response medium,” contends Axiom vice-president Jeff Clausing. Text messaging services are the latest addition to the “vast” portfolio of recruitment and retention strategies offered by the clinical research support and integrated healthcare marketing business with headquarters in Libertyville, Illinois.

According to Nielsen Mobile, a typical mobile phone subscriber in the US sends or receives an average of 357 text messages per month, which adds up to 4,284 messages per year. Moreover, some 73% of mobile users already have a paid text-messaging plan, a segment that has grown by 250% per annum over the last two years, Axiom points out.

It sees text messaging as a quick, convenient and efficient means of communicating directly with the “pre-qualified” audiences identified by Axiom in diseases and ailments ranging from asthma to adolescent schizophrenia.

The new approach can be used not only to gauge interest in study participation but also to retain participants through support services such as appointment reminders and treatment instructions, it notes.

“In an era when healthcare is one of the nation’s leading topics of conversation, we believe clinical studies should be accessible to as many people as possible,” comments Julie Oimoen, project manager at Axiom Accelerated Patient Recruitment.

“We can best accomplish this by allowing potential participants to respond by using the medium with which they’re most comfortable,” she adds. “For many candidates in today’s world, that means text messaging.”