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Who Are Doctors Really Texting?

Healthcare administrators know that their doctors are texting, but our recent mobile health platform Adoption Study revealed that administrators may not understand who their doctors are texting.  

Mostly, it’s not other doctors. The bulk of physician communication is conducted with their nurses and staff.

This crucial distinction is the key to successful implementation of a secure messaging platform. Organizations in the study that rolled out the Doc Halo mobile health platform to physicians alone saw only 60 percent adoption of technology. When the physicians’ ambulatory nurses and staff were included on the platform, adoption soared to nearly 90 percent.

The results are intuitive if you understand physician workflow. In practice, doctors communicate with other doctors somewhat sporadically, and they aren’t necessarily communicating with the same doctors. Physician-to-physician communication depends on the needs of each patient. We might consult with a urologist for one patient but a cardiologist for another—and which urologist or cardiologist depends on the patient, as well.  

In contrast, we’re texting our staff throughout the day. And although we’re communicating about different patients, we’re still texting the same staff members. Our nurses and staff are confirming appointments, relaying patient questions, clarifying instructions, and much more—all of which directly streamline patient care. 

Healthcare administrators may think they’re being economical by providing secure messaging for their physicians. But if they leave nurses and staff off the mobile workflow, they’re missing a large percentage of the essential communication.  

What happens when doctors can’t access nurses and staff members from the secure messaging system? They are forced to juggle two different systems—and one of them is not HIPAA compliant. Instead of simplifying communication, you’ve added a layer of complexity.