Text messaging is a useful reminder tool

27 May 2015

Introduction Longitudinal studies of adolescents must be ‘adolescent-friendly’, to collect data and to encourage maintenance in the study cohort. Text messaging may offer a feasible means to do both. Methods Adolescents in the Adolescent Rural Cohort, Hormones and Health, Education, Environments and Relationships (ARCHER) study (n=342) are sent automated text messages every 3 months, prompting biological specimen collection. Results A total of 99.2% of participants (or their parents) owned a mobile phone, of which 89.1% of participants responded to text messages and 97.3% of intended urine samples were collected. The average time to provide a urine sample after prompting correlated with time to reply to Short Message Service (SMS). Conclusions This study shows SMS can be used effectively in longitudinal research involving adolescents and is feasible and useful as a reminder tool for regular biological specimen collection.