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Medical Residents Choosing Texting When Communicating in Hospitals

December 31, 2015

In healthcare facilities, where paging was the way to get in touch with doctors in the past, today’s mobile technology has now completely revolutionized the process. This includes how the doctors themselves communicate with each other. And according to a Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) survey conducted of internal medicine residents, 71.7 percent of respondents preferred SMS text messaging for the efficiency it offered, while 79.8 percent highlighted its ease of use.

The different technologies in smartphones lets users communicate with voice, video and text. This flexibility has made mobility a mainstay in the overall communications solutions organizations are deploying across all industries. And since the vast majority of employees of organizations own a smartphone, integrating it into the system that is in place is both cost effective and efficient.

The JMIR survey was carried out at the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania with a cross section of internal medicine residents to find out their preference for SMS text messaging compared to other hospital communication if efficiency, ease of use and security are an issue. Using a Likert scale (a scale used to represent people's attitudes to a topic) residents ranked the different communications options, which included telephone, email, hospital paging and SMS text messaging.

The preference to SMS was obvious when it came to efficiency and ease of use, but as it applies to the issue of security, only 20.6 percent preferred texting while more than 82 percent preferred the hospital paging system. It is important to note there are regulatory compliance rules in healthcare, such as HIPAA, that mandates robust security measures when medical information is being transmitted. This ensure personal medical data is not compromised.

There is no questioning the benefits of SMS in this environment, but with the right system in place that is able to address the security concerns, residents as well as the rest of the medical team in healthcare facilities can use this technology to communicate with greater ease, lower cost and more efficiency.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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