Dr. Randall (Randy) King, CMIO and chief of staff at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, says, “We were probably a pretty standard large community hospital with a bunch of residents who communicated with our physicians, primarily through our operators, a paper call schedule, phone numbers and pagers.”
While the hospital’s communication processes seemed to be standard, internal discussions revealed that text messaging had emerged as a newer, faster, easier way for residents and attendings to connect with each other.
Dr. King continues, “We couldn’t help but notice that [residents] were extremely quick to adopt text messaging. The residents, who are usually closer to the forefront of technology than others in the organization as they’re a younger group…had taken the path of best efficiency and had been texting communications back and forth…because it works.”
However, the IT staff at St. Vincent quickly realized that this “path of best efficiency” was not secure. Because securing protected health information was a priority, the organization immediately began searching for a solution that allowed easy and secure communication between residents, attendings, nurses and other clinicians— and would ultimately benefit their patients by enabling fast and efficient clinical decision making.