Using TextIt for Longitudinal SMS Studies

Informed by participation in an SMS-based clinic attendance and early infant HIV testing study, TextIt was built with the needs of longitudinal research efforts in mind. In the workflow pictured above, members of the target group are asked if they're feeling healthy or ill on the day they're contacted. Assuming this workflow is sent each day over an extended period of time, each contact's daily condition will need to be tracked. Contact fields are a handy way to do so.

Storing Collected Data within Contact Fields

Each contact is assigned attributes, called contact fields, that hold values such as their names, phone numbers, and any other individual information you might want to include. Contact fields allow you to store separate but related values such as the current status of a contact and the total number of times they've reported feeling ill. Storing the data you collect to contact fields sets you up to access it with ease once the study's over, as contact fields can be exported to a simple XLS spreadsheet: 

In the workflow pictured above, the Update the Contact action is used to:

1. Update the "Current Status" contact field with the category through which each contact passes - "Feeling Healthy" or "Feeling Ill": 

2. Update the "Illness Count" contact field with a running tally of the times each contact reports they're feeling ill. 

If it's the first time the contact has reported feeling ill, the "Illness Count" contact field will be updated to reflect that: 

If it's not the first time the contact has reported feeling ill, the "Illness Count" contact field will increase by 1: 

Segmenting Contacts into Groups

The Add Message LabelAdd to Group/Remove from Group actions allow you to automatically segment contacts in real time based on the contents of their responses. In the workflow pictured above, contacts are placed in the "Healthy" group if they pass through the "Feeling Healthy" category and the "Feeling Ill" group if they pass through the "Feeling ill" category. In each instance, they're removed from the group representing the opposite choice so that they're only present in one group at a time. 

Creating Alerts

You can also use the Send an Email and Send a Messages to Someone Else actions to alert team members of responses to specific questions, or passage of contacts to/from groups. 

In the example workflow above, the Split on Illness Count RuleSet determines whether or not the participant has reported sickness more than 20 times - a metric that would indicate they require closer evaluation, as they may not be adhering to their therapy or their therapy isn't benefitting them: 

Send Email action has been added to provide staff the name of any participant that reports feeling ill more than 20 times: 

Try it for Yourself

Create an account or log-in to apply these features to your own workflows. Questions or comments can be directed to :)