Text messaging among residents and faculty in a university general surgery residency program: Prevalence, purpose, and patient care

Dhruvil R. Shah, Joseph M Galante, Richard J Bold, Robert J Canter, Steve R. Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND: There is little information about the use of text messaging (texting) devices among resident and faculty physicians for patient-related care (PRC). OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence, frequency, purpose, and concerns regarding texting among resident and attending surgeons and to identify factors associated with PRC texting. DESIGN: E-mail survey. SETTING: University medical center and its affiliated hospitals. PARTICIPANTS: Surgery resident and attending staff. OUTCOME MEASURES: Prevalence, frequency, purpose, and concerns regarding patient-related care text messaging. RESULTS: Overall, 73 (65%) surveyed physicians responded, including 45 resident (66%) and 28 attending surgeons (62%). All respondents owned a texting device. Majority of surgery residents (88%) and attendings (71%) texted residents, whereas only 59% of residents and 65% of attendings texted other faculty. Most resident to resident text occurred at a frequency of 3-5 times/d (43%) compared with most attending to resident texts, which occurred 1-2 times/d (33%). Most resident to attending (25%) and attending to attending (30%) texts occurred 1-2 times/d. Among those that texted, PRC was the most frequently reported purpose for resident to resident (46%), resident to attending (64%), attending to resident (82%), and attending to other attending staff (60%) texting. Texting was the most preferred method to communicate about routine PRC (47% of residents vs 44% of attendings). Age (OR: 0.86, 95% CI: 0.79-0.95; p = 0.003), but not sex, specialty/clinical rotation, academic rank, or postgraduate year (PGY) level predicted PRC texting. CONCLUSIONS: Most resident and attending staffsurveyed utilize texting, mostly for PRC. Texting was preferred for communicating routine PRC information. Our data may facilitate the development of guidelines for the appropriate use of PRC texting. (J Surg 70:826-834.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)826-834
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Volume70
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Communication
  • Patient care
  • Professionalism
  • Text messaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education

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