News Feature | May 23, 2014

Most Physicians Send Texts At Work

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

Physicians Send Texts At Work

A recent survey shows more than half of physicians send and receives text messages at work.

A recent study published in Telemedicine and eHealth, TXT@WORK: Pediatric Hospitalists and Text Messaging, shows the texting habits of the majority of physicians lead to security concerns.

Researchers surveyed 97 pediatric hospitalists about their at-work texting habits and Becker’s Hospital Review summarized the results:

  • Sixty percent sent and 61 percent received work-related text messages.
  • Twelve percent sent/received work-related text messages more than 10 times per shift.
  • Fifty-three percent texted about work-related matters while not on duty.
  • The most common recipients of the respondents' text messages were other pediatric hospitalists (68 percent), fellows or residents (37 percent) and consulting physicians (28 percent).
  • Forty-six percent reported having concerns about privacy standards with regards to texting.
  • Thirty percent have received protected health information in a text message.
  • Eleven percent said their organization offers a secure texting solution.

“Text messaging on cellular devices may pose risks such as interception of messages or viewing of information by an unauthorized third party,” says the report. “It is important that healthcare providers recognize and comply with privacy issues in regard to text messaging.”

Researchers concluded, “Physicians were using text messaging as a brief, work-related communication. Concerns arose regarding transfer of PHI using unsecure systems and work-life balance. Future research should examine accuracy and effectiveness of text message communication in hospital, as well as privacy issues.”

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