Healthcare workers have identified the improvement of teamwork and communication as one of the most important factors in improving the clinic. To ensure that messages sent to medical professionals are professional and appropriate, it is important to limit access to individual case files to members of the patient care team only. Additionally, it is important to avoid informally discussing patient problems with people outside the team. When using text messaging for healthcare, it is essential to make sure that the SMS solution used complies with certified standards. HIPAA does not prohibit the use of text messages in healthcare, so it is perfectly acceptable for doctors, nurses, and other health professionals to communicate with each other, and even with patients, through text messages.
However, there are requirements that must be met before sending protected electronic health information via text message. According to a survey of 770 hospital professionals and 1279 doctor's offices, 85 percent of hospitals and 83 percent of doctor's offices use secure communication platforms. In order to ensure that messages sent to medical professionals are professional and appropriate, it is important to create policies that are part of medical staff statutes. These policies should be agreed upon at the time of consultation and renewal of credentials. Additionally, developing clear guidelines for texting with medical information can help eliminate confusion and potential responsibilities when it comes to sending messages to patients. The Air Force Regional Hospital (USAF) developed and implemented a patient safety program called Medical Team Management (MTM) that was inspired by the aviation industry's CRM program and focused on communication, teamwork and reporting.
This program was designed to determine the impact of a patient safety program on medical error reporting patterns. Finally, it is important to remember that when sending messages containing medical information, it should not be done from a personal phone. Participation in social media and other similar opportunities can support doctors' personal expression, allow doctors to have a professional online presence, foster collegiality and camaraderie within the profession, and provide opportunities to widely disseminate public health messages and other types of communication about health.