Randomised study within a trial (SWAT) to evaluate personalised versus standard text message prompts for increasing trial participant response to postal questionnaires (PROMPTS).
Cureton L., Marian IR., Barber VS., Parker A., Torgerson DJ., Hopewell S.
BACKGROUND: Use of a person's name in a text message has been shown to be effective in instigating behaviour change. We evaluated the effectiveness of a personalised text message (including the recipient's name) versus a standardised text message for prompting a response from trial participants to complete and return postal follow-up questionnaires. METHODS: Using a randomised study within a trial (SWAT) embedded within the host GRASP (Getting it Right: Addressing Shoulder Pain) trial, participants who provided a mobile telephone number were randomised (1:1) by a central computer system to receive either (1) a personalised text message which included their name or (2) a standard text message. Text messages were sent by the trial office on the same day as the 6-month GRASP follow-up questionnaire. The primary outcome was questionnaire response rate, defined as the proportion of 6-month GRASP follow-up questionnaires returned by participants. Secondary outcomes included time to response, the proportion of participants sent a reminder follow-up questionnaire, and cost. RESULTS: Between March 2017 and May 2019 (recruitment period for GRASP trial), 618 participants were randomised to a personalised (n = 309) or standard (n = 309) text message and all were included in the analysis. The overall questionnaire response rate was 87% (n = 537/618); 90% (n = 277/309) of participants responded in the personalised text message group compared to 84% (n = 260/309) in the standard text message group (relative risk (RR) 1.07; 95% CI 1.00 to 1.13). Participants randomised to receive the personalised text message were more likely to return their initial postal questionnaire than those who received the standard text message (n = 185/309; 60% vs. n = 160/309; 52%) (RR 1.16; 95% CI 1.00 to 1.33); this represents an absolute percentage difference between intervention groups of 8%. Post hoc subgroup analysis showed that males under 65 years were the group most likely to return their initial questionnaire if they received a personalised text message. CONCLUSION: Overall, participants who received a personalised text message were more likely to return their questionnaire than those who received the standard text message. TRIAL REGISTRATION: GRASP Trial ISRCTN16539266 ; SWAT Repository ID 35.