Text messaging as a tool to improve cancer screening programs (M-TICS Study): A randomized controlled trial protocol.


Vives N(1)(2)(3), Farre A(4), Ibáñez-Sanz G(3)(5)(6)(7), Vidal C(1)(2)(3), Binefa G(1)(2)(3), Milà N(1)(2)(3), Pérez-Lacasta MJ(8)(9), Travier N(1)(2), Benito L(10), Espinàs JA(11), Bagaria G(12), Garcia M(1)(2)(3).
Author information:
(1)Cancer Screening Unit, Catalan Institute of Oncology, Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.
(2)Early Detection of Cancer Research Group, EPIBELL Program, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.
(3)Consortium for Biomedical Research in Epidemiology and Public Health
(CIBEResp), Madrid, Spain.
(4)School of Health Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee, United Kingdom.
(5)Oncology Data Analytics Program, Catalan Institute of Oncology, Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.
(6)Gastroenterology Department, Bellvitge University Hospital, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.
(7)Colorectal Cancer Group, ONCOBELL Program, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.
(8)Department of Economics, University Rovira i Virgili, Reus, Spain.
(9)Research Group on Economic Evaluation and Health
(GRAES), Reus, Spain.
(10)Fundamental Care and Medical Surgical Nursing Department, School of Nursing, University of Barcelona, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.
(11)Catalonian Cancer Strategy, Department of Health, Government of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain.
(12)Official College of Pharmacists of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.


BACKGROUND: Short message service (SMS) based interventions are widely used in healthcare and have shown promising results to improve cancer screening programs. However, more research is still needed to implement SMS in the screening process. We present a study protocol to assess the impact on health and economics of three targeted SMS-based interventions in population-based cancer screening programs. METHODS/DESIGN: The M-TICs study is a randomized controlled trial with a formal process evaluation. Participants aged 50-69 years identified as eligible from the colorectal cancer (CRC) and breast cancer (BC) screening program of the Catalan Institute of Oncology (Catalonia, Spain) will be randomly assigned to receive standard invitation procedure (control group) or SMS-based intervention to promote participation. Two interventions will be conducted in the CRC screening program: 1) Screening invitation reminder: Those who do not participate in the CRC screening within 6 weeks of invite will receive a reminder (SMS or letter); 2) Reminder to complete and return fecal immunochemical test (FIT) kit: SMS reminder versus no intervention to individuals who have picked up a FIT kit at the pharmacy and they have not returned it after 14 days. The third intervention will be performed in the BC screening program. Women who had been screened previously will receive an SMS invitation or a letter invitation to participate in the screening. As a primary objective we will assess the impact on participation for each intervention. The secondary objectives will be to analyze the cost-effectiveness of the interventions and to assess participants' perceptions. EXPECTED RESULTS: The results from this randomized controlled trial will provide important empirical evidence for the use of mobile phone technology as a tool for improving population-based cancer screening programs. These results may influence the cancer screening invitation procedure in future routine practice. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Registry: NCT04343950 (04/09/2020); clinicaltrials.gov.