Many physicians at pediatric hospitals are communicating with other physicians and staff through text messages, rather than using traditional pagers, according to a University of Kansas study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans, CNET reports (Armstrong Moore, CNET, 10/22).
For the study -- titled, "Text Messaging as a Means of Communication Among Pediatric Hospitalists" -- researchers conducted an online survey of 106 pediatric hospital doctors.
Ninety percent of respondents said they regularly use a smartphone and 96% use text messaging.
The report found that 57% of physicians said they either sent or received work-related text messages. Of those doctors, 12% reported sending more than 10 messages per shift (Medical News Today, 10/23).
Face-to-face and telephone were the most frequent methods of communication, both at 92% each (CNET, 10/22).
Researchers also found that:
- 49% of physicians said they received work-related texts while not scheduled to be on call; and
- 27% said they preferred texting for brief communications.
Few physicians reported that their hospital had policies in place for texting or had HIPAA-encrypted texting software (Medical News Today, 10/23).
Further, 41% of survey respondents said they used their personal phones to text, compared with 18% who reported using hospital-assigned phones.
Stephanie Kuhlmann, a physician and author of the abstract, said, "We are using text messaging more and more to communicate with other physicians, residents and even to transfer a patient to a different unit."
However, she added, "I'm not sure that hospitals have caught up by putting in place related processes and protocols" (CNET, 10/22).