Voting with Their Thumbs: Assessing Communication Technology Use by Medical, Nursing, Midwifery, and Allied Health Clinicians
Background Timely multidisciplinary communication is crucial to prevent patient harm related to miscommunication of clinical information. Many health care organizations provide secure communications systems; however, clinicians often use unapproved platforms on personal devices to communicate asynchronously.
Objective The aim of the study is to assess clinical communication behaviors by clinicians in a hospital setting.
Methods Medical, nursing and allied health staff working across seven hospital sites of a large health care organization were invited to complete an anonymous survey on the methods, behaviors, and rationale for clinical communication technology use. The survey included questions on communication methods used by clinicians for intra- and inter-disciplinary communication and sending and receiving clinical information or images. Demographics and qualitative comments were also collected.
Results A total of 836 surveys were completed (299 medical, 317 nursing, and 220 allied health staff). Staff in all clinical groups reported using an unapproved messaging platform to communicate patient information more than three times per day (medical staff n = 167, 55.9%; nursing staff n = 106, 33.4%; allied health staff n = 67, 30.5%). Not one medical staff member indicated they only use the approved methods (n = 0, 0%) while one-third of nursing and allied health respondents only used approved methods (n = 118, 37.2% and n = 64, 29.1%, respectively). All clinician groups reported wasted time from communications sent with missing information, or time spent waiting for responses for further information. Qualitative comments expressed dissatisfaction and frustration with current clinical communication methods and a desire for improved systems.
Conclusion Workarounds are being used by all clinician groups to send text and image clinical communications. There are high levels of dissatisfaction with this situation and clinicians are keen for consistency and to have the right tools available. There is a need to ensure standardized clinical communication methods and approved digital platforms are in place and utilized to provide safe, high-quality patient care.
Protection of Human and Animal Subjects
The study was performed in compliance with the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki on Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects and was reviewed by the health care organization's Institutional Review Board.
Eingereicht: 28. April 2022
Angenommen: 16. August 2022
Artikel online veröffentlicht:
28. September 2022
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