Standardized text messages improve 30-day patient follow-up for ACS pediatric NSQIP cases
Thirty-day follow-up is a critical and challenging component of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP). We hypothesized the simplicity and immediacy of text messaging would increase response rates while reducing workload.
For 6 months, text messages were the primary form of contact for first and second follow-up attempts. If no response, a phone call was made. Results of this protocol were compared to the previous 6 months when phone calls were the primary method.
The text message (TM) group had 298 cases and phone call (PC) group had 354. The first contact was successful in 63.8% of the TM group compared to 47.5% of the PC group. The second contact was successful in 15.4% (TM) and 16.9% (PC). In the third attempt, 3.0% answered the call in the TM group versus 9.3% in the PC group. Some families remained unreachable: 17.8% in TM group and 26.3% in PC group (p = 0.01). When totaled, time spent to obtain caregivers’ responses was over five times higher in the PC group (910 min) than the TM group (173 min) (p = 0.005).
Patient follow-up using text messaging has improved our follow-up rate while decreasing workload.
KeywordsNSQIP Follow-up Text messaging Quality improvement Outcomes
The authors of this manuscript acknowledge the contributions of Paula Buchanan MPH, Ph.D., from the Center of Health Outcomes Research at Saint Louis University, and Hector Osei, MD from the department of Pediatric Surgery at Cardinal Glennon/Saint Louis University.
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