Nurses fuel the growth of secure text messaging
Smartphones are now ubiquitous in healthcare, used by well over 84% of clinicians. And when it comes to employing smartphones for clinical communications, nurses have been early adopters.
Back in 2018, in Nursing Management, a manager complained that nursing staff were using text messages on their personal devices to communicate information about patients and their families, in spite of a no-texting policy. The manager was advised that smartphones use was impossible to prohibit, but could be made secure.
Text messaging and security
According to the Canadian Medical Protective Association, there are strategies that minimize the legal risks in text messaging to maintain patient confidentiality. For example, the organization advises not to communicate personal health information with an unencrypted device over an unsecured network. Healthcare workers are also advised to create limited group texts to share clinical information
Nurses continue to find texting convenient
Despite no-texting policies and concerns from managers about security, nurses routinely use texting to communicate with physicians and each other.
Health systems have responded by transitioning to secure text messaging platforms. Modern messaging systems use cloud-based servers to ensure HIPAA compliance. These platforms integrate with EHRs, pagers, and scheduling systems to automate and streamline existing workflows and their data.
Better communication, better outcomes
A recent study found that secure text messaging can reduce communication failures between nurses and physicians. In the study, a facility instituted secure text messaging “in response to anecdotal reports of unanswered pages from nurses to residents.” Researchers found about 15% of pages from nurses were going unanswered by residents. After secure text messaging was implemented, the facility saw a 59% reduction in communication failures.
And a study in the International Journal of Health Informatics determined that secure text messaging by nurses and doctors is positively linked to patient survival. The researchers stated that for critically ill patients, messages from nurses asking physicians for assessments that included two or more vitals, or used SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendations) correlated with increased in-hospital survival.
How Diagnotes helps nurses communicate more effectively
Diagnotes features a secure virtual workspace that care team members access on their personal smartphones. Nurses use Diagnotes to communicate directly with on-call physicians from the moment the patient is admitted through discharge. They can share key data, check in on group discussions, and escalate from text to voice to video, all on one secure app.
Designed in collaboration with actual clinicians, Diagnotes is a messaging platform for health systems that goes beyond basic texting. In addition to providing secure texting and telehealth for both care teams and patients, we deliver a virtual workspace that brings together both internal and outside providers to collaborate across units and disciplines. Health systems using Diagnotes optimize their efficiency, while increasing clinician and patient satisfaction.