Utilization of Text Messages to Supplement Rounding Communication: a Randomized Feasibility Study.



Fragmented communication with patients and families during hospitalizations often leaves patients confused about the daily plan.


To pilot a supplemental text message-based platform for improving bidirectional communication about the clinical plan and patients' goals.


Randomized controlled trial PARTICIPANTS: Thirty adult patients, thirty caregivers of pediatric patients, and the interns caring for them on inpatient general medicine and pediatric services.


Patients and caregivers were texted or emailed daily to report their personal goal and assess their understanding of the team's clinical plan. Interns were texted daily to report the team's clinical plan and to assess their understanding of the patient's personal goal.

Main measures

Primary outcomes were feasibility, defined as survey response rates, and acceptability. Secondary outcomes were patient comprehension of the clinical plan, trainee comprehension of the patient's goal, patient-centered communication scores, and educational satisfaction scores.

Key results

Thirty adult patients, thirty caregivers of pediatric patients, fourteen general medicine interns, and six general pediatric interns enrolled. Intervention feasibility was met, with survey response rates of 80% for general medicine trainees, 67% for general pediatric trainees, 58% for adult patients, and 70% for caregivers. Patients and caregivers in the intervention arm had higher understanding of medication changes (76% vs 50%, p = 0.02) and new consultations (90% vs 61%, p = 0.002). Interns had higher understanding of patients' goals in the intervention arm (93% vs 40%, p < 0.001), particularly for adult patients (97% vs 17%, p < 0.001). Caregivers rated communication higher regarding information to help make decisions (p = 0.04). Interviews demonstrated high acceptability.


Our text message-based communication intervention was feasible and acceptable to all involved participants, with preliminary signals of efficacy. The intervention may contribute to improved understanding of medication changes and new consultations, as well as help in making decisions. A large, randomized efficacy trial of this intervention is warranted. Graphical abstract.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Wesevich, Austin, Mikelle Key-Solle, Apoorva Kandakatla, Colby Feeney, Kathryn I Pollak and Thomas W LeBlanc (2022). Utilization of Text Messages to Supplement Rounding Communication: a Randomized Feasibility Study. Journal of general internal medicine, 37(12). pp. 2991–2997. 10.1007/s11606-021-07285-4 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/29956.

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Colby Danielle Feeney

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Kathryn IIonka Pollak

Professor in Population Health Sciences

Dr. Pollak is a social psychologist who designs and tests behavioral interventions to promote smoking cessation, reduce health disparities, and improve clinician-patient communication. She also is one of the Multiple Principal Investigators of the Palliative Care Research Cooperative that supports multi-site palliative care trials. Finally, Dr. Pollak serves as a Communication Coach where she teaches clinicians effective communication techniques.

Area of expertise: Health Behavior


Thomas William LeBlanc

Associate Professor of Medicine

I am a medical oncologist, palliative care physician, and patient experience researcher, and serve as Chief Patient Experience and Safety Officer for the Duke Cancer Institute. My clinical practice focuses on the care of patients with hematologic malignancies, with a particular emphasis on myeloid conditions and acute leukemias including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), and myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs / MPDs, CML, PV, ET, MF), as well as rarer and related diseases like BPDCN.  

As founding Director of the Duke Cancer Patient Experience Research Program (CPEP), my research investigates common issues faced by people with cancer, including issues of symptom burden, quality of life, psychological distress, prognostic understanding, and treatment decision-making. This work aims to improve patients' experiences living with serious illnesses like blood cancers, including the integration of specialist palliative care services to provide an extra layer of support along with their comprehensive cancer care. More broadly, our team in CPEP conducts various studies of patient experience and outcomes issues in oncology, including retrospective chart review studies, comparative effectiveness work, prospective observational studies and registries, and qualitative research, along with efforts to facilitate the integration of patient-generated health data (PGHD) into routine cancer care processes, such as with electronic patient-reported outcome measures (ePROs) and other mobile health interventions (mHealth). 

This work has led to recognition as an "Inspirational Leader under 40" by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM), "Fellow" status from the Academy in 2016, the 2018 international "Clinical Impact Award" from the European Association for Palliative Care, and the AAHPM "Early Career Investigator" award in 2020. I served as 2017-18 Chair of the ASCO Ethics Committee, and Chaired the Scientific Review Committee of the NIH/NINR-funded Palliative Care Research Cooperative Group through June 2023 (PCRC; www.palliativecareresearch.org). I have served on various national guideline panels for AML and for palliative/supportive care issues in oncology, and was inducted as a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (FASCO) in 2021. To date I have published over 200 Medline-indexed articles, and several chapters in prominent textbooks of oncology and palliative medicine.

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