Improving patient health engagement with mobile texting: A pilot study in the head and neck postoperative setting

Alan Sosa, Nathan Heineman, Kimberly Thomas, Kai Tang, Marie Feinstein, Michelle Y. Martin, Baran Sumer, David L. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Cell phone ownership is nearly universal. Messaging is one of its most widely used features. Texting-based interventions may improve patient engagement in the postoperative setting, but remain understudied. Methods: Patients were recruited before discharge from the hospital and received automated daily texts for 1 week providing information about expected recovery. Patients were encouraged to text questions to providers, which were triaged for intervention. Web-based surveys solicited patient feedback about the platform. Results: Thirty-two patients were approached, and 23 patients (72%) were enrolled in the study. All study patients texted their providers, although frequency (median, 7 texts; range, 2–44 texts) varied. Unmarried patients and those facing surgical complications used the platform more frequently. Mean patient satisfaction with the platform was high (mean, 3.8 on a 4-point Likert scale). Conclusion: Text messaging seems feasible in the acute postoperative setting and potentially improves engagement of patients with head and neck cancer. Further study is warranted to confirm scalability and impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)988-995
Number of pages8
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017


  • health informatics
  • mobile health (mHealth)
  • patient engagement
  • text messaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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