Design and Integration of a Texting Tool to Keep Patients’ Family Members Updated During Hospitalization: Family Members’ Perspectives

Courtenay R. Bruce, Ashleigh Kamencik-Wright, Natalie Zuniga-Georgy, Thomas M. Vinh, Hema Shah, Jamie Shallcross, Charlie Giammattei, Colleen O’Rourke, Mariana Smith, Lindsey Bruchhaus, Yashica Bowens, Kimberly Goode, Lee Ann Arabie, Katherine Sauceda, Majeedah Pacha, Sandra Martinez, James Chisum, R. Benjamin Saldaña DO, S. Nicholas Desai, Melina AwarThomas R. Vernon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While there is an evolving literature on the benefits of texting and patient-centered technologies, texting initiatives have not focused on family members. We sought to identify patients’ family members’ perspectives on facilitators and barriers to using 1 digital texting innovation to promote family-centered care during patients’ hospitalizations. This qualitative study was conducted at a tertiary care center in Houston, consisting of 7 hospitals (1 academic hospital and 6 community hospitals), involving analyzation of 3137 comments from family members who used the digital texting technology. Thematic analysis methods were used. The data analysis for loved ones’ feedback resulted in 4 themes as facilitators: (1) inpatient text messaging keeps loved ones updated and connected (n = 611); (2) inpatient text messaging allows for stronger continuity of communication (n = 69); (3) messaging promotes a sense of staff compassion and service (n = 245); and (4) messaging reduces phone calls (n = 65). The data analysis resulted in 4 themes as barriers to text messaging helpfulness: (1) messages could feel generic (n = 31); (2) inpatient texting was not needed if all loved ones were regularly at bedside (n = 6); (3) messages could have a perceived delay (n = 37); and (4) security features could impact convenience (n = 29). Our findings indicate that family members and loved ones value inpatient text messages, not only for the information the messages provide, but also because the act of writing text messages and preparing loved ones shows inclusiveness, compassion, and family-centered care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Patient Experience
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • digital innovations
  • family-centered care
  • mHealth technology
  • patient engagement
  • patient experience
  • quality improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy


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