Texting streamlines work processes, enhances hospital patient care

Secure text messaging isn't only helping to expedite patient care and caregiver response at a South Carolina hospital, it's boosting staff efficiency and enabling treatment interaction by caregivers who live in remote areas with unreliable cell coverage.

The mHealth messaging solution, Cortext, first was deployed at Beaufort Memorial Hospital in a beta fashion two years ago, according to Health Data Management. The initial goal was to reduce the inefficiencies plaguing patient-doctor interaction, as well as delays in staff to staff communications.

"We just recognized we had a problem and all of the doctors have cell phones," CIO Ed Ricks told Health Data Management.

Text messaging is rapidly being adopted by healthcare entities for a wide range of benefits, from helping keep teen diabetics engaged in treatment--as a recent study showed--to helping patients adhere to prescription routines, another study revealed. An earlier study in 2014, on mHealth's potential to help homeless veterans, reported that text messaging could prove beneficial in helping ex-military personnel with healthcare needs. Text messaging is also proving to help teenagers prone to binge drinking, and has been deemed a viable tool in helping Medicaid patients adhere to a medication regimen.

Through its beta and subsequent official product deployment effort, Beaufort not only hurdled the initial patient care obstacles it had hoped to clear, but it now is enjoying some unexpected benefits as well, such as better understanding actual workflow processes.

Another benefit is that physicians and caregivers living in remote areas without stable Internet access can be kept in the communications loop via text thanks to Wi-Fi.

From the initial pilot participant base of under a dozen, the text messaging system now has grown to 350 users. The learning curve was very small, Ricks said, given that most of the user base was already using text messaging on a personal basis.

For more information:
- read the article at Health Data Management

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