Texting Guidelines for Researchers

The purpose of this page is to provide guidance to researchers considering using texting as a form of communication with study subjects/patients.  Please note that the content of this page may change frequently and without notice. 

Please note: 

1) ALL text content MUST be IRB approved before use with study subjects. 

2) Study subject must provide consent either in writing or verbally to communicate via text message.

3) Subject approval must be documented in the study file.

4) The detailed plan for text message communication must be clearly described in the protocol summary.

Privacy and Security Policy

The Privacy Office and Information Security have published a policy and guidelines for texting with patients/study subjects.  The IRB provides recommendations for consent language and requires that all study subjects consent to text messaging before enrolling in a study. The policy, texting and consent guidelines can be found here:

Partners Healthcare Policy on texting with patients/study subjects


Texting Platforms

There is not currently available, a list of texting platforms that can be used without a review.  ALL texting use cases require IRB and RISO review regardless of the technology.  As information about available platforms is acquired, it will be added to this section. If you are interested in guidance on communication platforms for use in your study, please contact the Mobile Application Process Coordinator at IRBDigitalhealthreview@partners.org


What is the REDCap+Twilio Module for texting?

Requesting a Review

To request a technical review of the texting technology and use case:

  • Answer YES to these two questions in the Insight Digital Health Form:
  1. Does your research involve the generation, use and/or dissemination of health information or physiological data using mobile and wireless devices, wearable devices, smartphone apps, digital health tools, health-related IT, new healthcare software and related new technologies?
  2. Do you plan to communicate with participants via text message?
  • Include a description of how the technology will be used in the study, including content, how contact information will be collected/stored, and the technology being utilzed.
  • For further information, refer to the Digital Health website

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