Most Pediatric Doctors Send, Receive Work-Related Text Messages

Sixty-one percent of pediatric physicians in the U.S. have received work-related text messages on their personal mobile phones, while 60% have sent such messages themselves, according to a study published in the journal Telemedicine and e-Health, MobiHealthNews reports.

Report Details

For the study, more than 2,000 pediatric physicians were anonymously surveyed through an American Academy of Pediatrics' listserv. The survey took place in February 2012, and participants represented more than 97 U.S. pediatric hospitals.


Of the pediatric physicians polled, 28% preferred text messages as a method of communication for brief conversations, while 26% said they preferred pagers. However, 47% of respondents said they believed pagers are becoming obsolete.

According to the survey:

  • 68% of hospitalists said they send text messages to other pediatric physicians;
  • 37% said they send text messages to fellows or residents; and
  • 28% said they send text messages to consulting physicians.

When asked about their texting practices:

  • 53% of respondents said they have sent text messages about work-related matters while off-duty; and
  • 12% said they send and receive work-related text messages more than 10 times per shift.

Further, just 11% of respondents said their organization offered a secure text messaging platform, while 58% were unsure whether such a platform was offered by their organization.

Privacy Concerns

Researchers also found that 46% of respondents said they had concerns about protecting patient privacy over text messages.

Thirty percent of those surveyed reported that they had received protected health information via text message (Pai, MobiHealthNews, 5/20).

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