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An embedded randomised controlled retention trial of personalised text messages compared to non-personalised text messages in an orthopaedic setting [version 1; peer review: 1 approved]

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DateAccepted/In press - 4 Jun 2020
DatePublished (current) - 11 Jun 2020
Original languageEnglish


Several studies have investigated whether personalising trial documentation can aid recruitment and retention. We did a ‘study within a trial’ (SWAT) evaluating the effectiveness of a personalised text message compared to a non-personalised text message, on the retention rate in a large orthopaedic trial.

The SWAT was embedded in the Knee Replacement Bandaging Study (KReBS) trial. The primary outcome was the proportion of 12-month questionnaires returned. Secondary outcomes were the proportion of questionnaires completed and time to questionnaire return. Binary data were analysed using logistic regression and time to return using Cox proportional hazards regression. Odds ratios (OR) and hazard ratios (HR) are presented, with associated 95% confidence intervals (CI) and p-values.

In total, 1465 participants were included in the SWAT. In the personalised group, 644/723 (89.1%) of participants returned a questionnaire, compared to 654/742 (88.1%) in the non-personalised group. The absolute difference in return rate was 0.9% (95% CI: -2.3% to 4.2%; p=0.57). There was no evidence of a difference between the groups in the likelihood of returning a questionnaire (OR 1.09; 95% CI: 0.79 to 1.51; p=0.61), the likelihood of returning a complete questionnaire (OR 1.11; 95% CI: 0.82 to 1.51; p=0.50) nor in time to return (HR 1.05; 95% CI: 0.94 to 1.17; p=0.40).

This SWAT adds to the growing evidence base for whether personalised text messages are effective.

Registration: ISRCTN87127065 (20/02/2017); SWAT 35 (01/12/2015)

Bibliographical note

© 2020 Mitchell A.

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