A Tailored SMS Text Message-Based Intervention to Facilitate Patient Access to Referred Community-Based Social Needs Resources: Protocol for a Pilot Feasibility and Acceptability Study.
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BackgroundHealth care providers are increasingly screening patients for unmet social needs (eg, food, housing, transportation, and social isolation) and referring patients to relevant community-based resources and social services. Patients' connection to referred services is often low, however, suggesting the need for additional support to facilitate engagement with resources. SMS text messaging presents an opportunity to address barriers related to contacting resources in an accessible, scalable, and low-cost manner.
ObjectiveIn this multi-methods pilot study, we aim to develop an automated SMS text message-based intervention to promote patient connection to referred social needs resources within 2 weeks of the initial referral and to evaluate its feasibility and patient acceptability. This protocol describes the intervention, conceptual underpinnings, study design, and evaluation plan to provide a detailed illustration of how SMS technology can complement current social needs screening and referral practice patterns without disrupting care.
MethodsFor this pilot prospective cohort study, this SMS text message-based intervention augments an existing social needs screening, referral, and navigation program at a federally qualified health center. Patients who received at least one referral for any identified unmet social need are sent 2 rounds of SMS messages over 2 weeks. The first round consists of 5-10 messages that deliver descriptions of and contact information for the referred resources. The second round consists of 2 messages that offer a brief reminder to contact the resources. Participants will evaluate the intervention via a survey and a semistructured interview, informed by an adapted technology acceptance model. Rapid qualitative and thematic analysis will be used to extract themes from the responses. Primary outcomes are implementation feasibility and patient acceptability. Secondary outcomes relate to intervention effectiveness: self-reported attempt to connect and successful connection to referred resources 2 weeks after the initial referral encounter.
ResultsThe study received regulatory approval in May 2021, and we anticipate enrolling 15-20 participants for this initial pilot.
ConclusionsThis protocol presents detailed implementation methods about a novel automated SMS intervention for social care integration within primary care. By sharing the study protocol early, we intend to facilitate the development and adoption of similar tools across different clinical settings, as more health care providers seek to address the unmet social needs of patients. Study findings will provide practical insights into the design and implementation of SMS text message-based interventions to improve social and medical care coordination.
International registered report identifier (irrid)DERR1-10.2196/37316.
Published Version (Please cite this version)
Lian, Tyler, Hadley Reid, Abigail Rader, Sarah Dewitt-Feldman, Elmira Hezarkhani, Elizabeth Gu, Malik Scott, Kate Kutzer, et al. (2022). A Tailored SMS Text Message-Based Intervention to Facilitate Patient Access to Referred Community-Based Social Needs Resources: Protocol for a Pilot Feasibility and Acceptability Study. JMIR research protocols, 11(10). p. e37316. 10.2196/37316 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/28694.
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Dr. Bettger’s research is dedicated to establishing real world evidence aimed to improve health care quality and policies that reduce the burden of disease and disability. As a health services researcher and implementation scientist, her research extends from observational studies to randomized and pragmatic trials. She was the Founding Director of Duke Roybal Center for Translational Research in the Behavioral and Social Sciences of Aging and the Founding Director of Undergraduate Initiatives for the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. She has examined implementation of several integrated care models to improve the transition home from the hospital (VERITAS with virtual exercise therapy after knee replacement, COMPASS for stroke, RECOVER for stroke in rural China, and coordinated care for trauma patients in Tanzania). She also studies implementation of community-based models of care that can prevent functional decline. These include the CTSA-funded IMPAC RCT of integrating physical therapists into primary care as first line providers to address musculoskeletal pain, the VA-funded Gerofit program of structured and progressive in-person and virtual group exercise for older Veterans, MRC-funded SINEMA RCT of a village-based model supporting stroke recovery in China, and a NIDCD study comparing three primary care protocols for older adult hearing healthcare.
In addition to the evidence translation studies in China (RECOVER and SINEMA) and Tanzania, she has partnered with experts in Singapore on stroke systems research, and worked on large cluster randomized trials to improve evidence-based care in Brazil, Peru, Argentina (BRIDGE-Stroke) and China (CNSR and Golden Bridge). To address health locally, she was the faculty sponsor to launch Exercise is Medicine at Duke and Help Desk, a student volunteer community resource navigator model addressing social determinants of health.
Dr. Bettger received her BA from the University of Western Ontario, Canada and her MS from the University of Wisconsin–LaCrosse where she studied community reintegration for stroke and brain-injured patients transitioning from hospital to home. Her doctoral training in Rehabilitation Sciences, completed at Boston University, concluded with an investigation of patterns of functional recovery and factors affecting outcomes in patients transitioning home following acute rehabilitation. While working on her doctorate, she also worked in state government as the director of the Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Registry. Dr. Bettger completed post-doctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania with a NIH NRSA research fellowship in neurorehabilitation, a research fellowship at the NewCourtland Center for Transitions and Health, and a Switzer Fellowship funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research to study the role of the environment on functional outcomes. She completed additional research training at Duke as a mentored scholar in comparative effectiveness research funded by AHRQ. As of July 2022, she is an Adjunct Associate Professor for Duke's Department of Orthopaedics and has transitioned out of her role as Co-Director of the Duke Clinical and Translational Institute (CTSA) Pilots Accelerator Core working with NCCU. She is affiliate faculty with Duke's Science and Society, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) and Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI), is a Senior Fellow of the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, and is a Fellow of the American Heart Association.
I lead teams that discover how to integrate patient generated health data and emerging technologies into novel care delivery models for patients with complex chronic illnesses. This includes data from wearables, sensors and devices that monitor and augment patient care and interface with electronic health records (EHRs). With these tools I engineer equitable care models that capitalize on the growing digital health infrastructure of health systems and society.
My program of research is funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as previously by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), among others.
As the Director of Duke University School of Nursing's Health Innovation Lab, located adjacent to Duke Hospital, I oversee a space for entrepreneurship, product development and testing, as well as modeling and evaluating care delivery processes.
Additionally, I teach classes in health informatics and research methods, and mentor students to become the next generation of health scientists and clinicians.
I currently co-lead two NIH-funded clinical trials:
EXTEND (grant R01NR019594): extend.nursing.duke.edu
Log2lose (grant: U24HL150227): log2lose.com
As a nurse scientist and health services researcher, with a joint appointment between the Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON) and the Durham Veterans Affairs Health Care System (VHA), I have acquired expertise in the areas of diabetes distress, qualitative research methods, and virtual care (e.g., telehealth, digital health) as a method of care delivery. My research focuses on the current and potential ability of virtual care interventions to reduce distress, improve self-management, increase access to evidence-based care delivery, and improve patient and population health outcomes. My collaborative and interdisciplinary research focuses on how patient-, provider-, and system-level factors influence virtual care use and outcomes. As evidence of its growing significance and impact at DUSON and the VHA, my work has been well funded, published in high-impact journals, presented at select conferences, and used to guide health system decision-making. I am a sought-after teacher and mentor because I connect my research interests to teaching students and mentees rigorous and systematic research approaches. I am frequently asked by local and national colleagues to provide guidance on distress, qualitative research methods, and virtual care approaches used in grants, projects, and manuscripts.
My research contributions have focused on alleviating psychosocial distress, developing and implementing multi-level virtual care interventions, and enhancing qualitative methods. As a staff nurse, I witnessed the psychosocial distress of patients who experience challenges in obtaining care which led to my interest in diabetes distress. I aspire and work to improve health outcomes for individuals with chronic illness by developing equitable and sustainable multi-level virtual care interventions and assessing their implementation and adaptation. Virtual care describes any remote interaction between a patient and/or members of their care team. To achieve these goals, I use qualitative methods and implementation science approaches to enhance alignment between patient, modality, disease state, and social and environmental context; my collective assessments address for whom and what purposes, in what situations and contexts, when in a disease course or clinical activity, and in what specific ways such interventions are effective. My focus on the uptake and adoption of virtual care to address psychosocial distress considers interactions with patients, between patients and clinicians, and within health care systems and the larger population.
I am a med-peds hospitalist and researcher with interests in improving systems of care of patients with complex health needs. My research focus areas include implementation science, population health sciences, community-engaged research, and digital health. My vision is to design, implement, evaluate, and scale programs and interventions that will simplify the delivery of complex care. By doing so, we can equitably improve the health outcomes that matter most to children and adults with complex health needs and their families.
Dr. Bosworth is a health services researcher and Deputy Director of the Center of Innovation to Accelerate Discovery and Practice Transformation (ADAPT) at the Durham VA Medical Center. He is also Vice Chair of Education and Professor of Population Health Sciences. He is also a Professor of Medicine, Psychiatry, and Nursing at Duke University Medical Center and Adjunct Professor in Health Policy and Administration at the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research interests comprise three overarching areas of research: 1) clinical research that provides knowledge for improving patients’ treatment adherence and self-management in chronic care; 2) translation research to improve access to quality of care; and 3) eliminate health care disparities.
Dr. Bosworth is the recipient of an American Heart Association established investigator award, the 2013 VA Undersecretary Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research (The annual award is the highest honor for VA health services researchers), and a VA Senior Career Scientist Award. In terms of self-management, Dr. Bosworth has expertise developing interventions to improve health behaviors related to hypertension, coronary artery disease, and depression, and has been developing and implementing tailored patient interventions to reduce the burden of other chronic diseases. These trials focus on motivating individuals to initiate health behaviors and sustaining them long term and use members of the healthcare team, particularly pharmacists and nurses. He has been the Principal Investigator of over 30 trials resulting in over 400 peer reviewed publications and four books. This work has been or is being implemented in multiple arenas including Medicaid of North Carolina, private payers, The United Kingdom National Health System Direct, Kaiser Health care system, and the Veterans Affairs.
Areas of Expertise: Health Behavior, Health Services Research, Implementation Science, Health Measurement, and Health Policy
Leah L. Zullig, PhD, MPH is a health services researcher and an implementation scientist. She is a Professor in the Duke Department of Population Health Sciences and an investigator with the Center of Innovation to Accelerate Discovery and Practice Transformation (ADAPT) at the Durham Veterans Affairs Health Care System. Dr. Zullig’s overarching research interests address three domains: improving cancer care delivery and quality; promoting cancer survivorship and chronic disease management; and improving medication adherence. Throughout these three area of foci Dr. Zullig uses an implementation science lens with the goal of providing equitable care for all by implementing evidence-based practices in a variety of health care environments. She has authored over 150 peer-reviewed publications.
Dr. Zullig completed her BS in Health Promotion, her MPH in Public Health Administration, and her PhD in Health Policy.
Areas of expertise: Implementation Science, Health Measurement, Health Policy, Health Behavior, Telehealth, and Health Services Research
Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity/Overweight, Behavior change, Non-pharmacologic intervention, Health disparities
Connor Drake is a health services researcher and implementation scientist. His research interests are at the intersection of primary care, population health management, social determinants of health, chronic illness care redesign, and health equity. He has experience with policy analysis, electronic health record data, mixed and multi methods, community engaged research, and implementation and dissemination methods.
Dr. Drake's current research projects include leveraging telemedicine and other clinical informatics to improve chronic illness care and population health management; developing and implementing behavioral interventions and 'whole-person' care models for patients with cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders; and studying social care interventions to respond to social risk factors including food insecurity, housing instability, and social isolation to improve health outcomes and equity.
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