Family Input for Quality and Safety (FIQS): Using mobile technology for in-hospital reporting from families and patients

J Hosp Med. 2022 Jun;17(6):456-465. doi: 10.1002/jhm.2777. Epub 2022 Feb 4.


Objective: Despite three decades of effort, ensuring inpatient safety remains elusive. Patients and family members are a potential source of safety observations, but systems gathering these are limited. Our goal was to test a system to gather safety observations from hospitalized patients and their family members via a real-time mobile health tool.

Methods: We developed a mobile-responsive website for reporting safety observations. We piloted the tool during June 2017-April 2018 on the medical-surgical unit of a children's hospital. Participants were English-speaking family members and patients ≥13 years. We sent a daily text with a website link. We assessed: (1) face validity by comparing observations to incident reporting (IR) criteria and to hospital IRs and (2) associations between the number of safety observations/100 patient-days and participant characteristics using Poisson regression.

Results: We enrolled 235 patients (43.8% of 537 reviewed for eligibility), resulting in 8.15 safety reports/100 patient-days, most frequently regarding medications (29% of reports) and communication (20% of reports). Fifty-one (40% of 125) met IR criteria; only one (1.1%) had been reported via the IR system. Latinx participants submitted fewer observations than White participants (3.9 vs. 10.1, p = .002); participants with more prior hospitalizations submitted more observations (p < .001). In adjusted analyses, including measures of preference in decision making, and patient activation, the difference between Latinx and White participants diminished substantially (6.4 vs. 11.3, p = .16).

Conclusions: We demonstrated the feasibility of real-time patient and family-member technology-enabled safety observation reporting and elicited reports not otherwise identified. Variation in reporting may potentially exacerbate disparities in safety if not addressed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Family
  • Hospitals, Pediatric
  • Humans
  • Patient Safety*
  • Risk Management*
  • Technology