Mobile messaging increases system efficiency, clinician accountability, study finds

A communication system based on smartphone messaging helped increase perceived efficiency and accountability among physicians and nurses, according to a study in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

Researchers implemented a communication system from May 2011 to August 2012 that supported physician handover on two general medicine wards in a hospital in Toronto, Ontario.

Messages could be tagged as "urgent" and could request a text reply. Approximately 69 percent of sent messages were urgent, and 76.5 percent requested a reply. For messages requesting a reply, the median response time was 2.3 minutes. Approximately 8.6 percent of texts requesting a response went unanswered.

Both medical trainees (82.8 percent) and the nursing staff (78.3 percent) [ac1] said the communication system helped them work through their daily tasks quicker.

Additionally, 67.1 percent of medical trainees and 73.2 percent of nurses either agreed or strongly agreed that the communication system made them more accountable in their clinical roles.

However, only 35.8 percent of physicians and 26.3 percent of nurses said the system was useful for communicating complex issues.

Researchers concluded such a communication system had a successful adoption, and users felt increased levels of efficiency and accountability, but it was not effective in communicating complex issues.

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