Collaboration, MGPO | 2016

Secure text messaging has the potential to be a robust two-way communication system that may reduce or eventually eliminate the use of traditional pagers (beepers). Multiple communication solutions are  currently used across the hospital, but nothing connects all care team members.

The HTL worked with Partners Healthcare and three care teams in the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center to pilot two secure text messaging systems. The team learned, or rather was reminded, that MGH providers are busy… and we mean really busy. For any technology solution to add value to a jam-packed day, it has to bring functionality that goes above and beyond what providers currently use. In the end the three care teams found both proposed texting solutions too limiting and therefore did not see value in adopting either of the platforms in their current build into their workflow.

For a secure text messaging solution to transform the care team’s communication, it must enlist a critical mass of users and offer smart functionality – like automatically knowing the care team members currently on shift for a given patient. Without these things, providers are unlikely to change their behavior and will continue to use the simplest thing available to them – usually their pager or the non-secure text messaging function on their smart phones.