Secure smartphone application-based text messaging in emergency department, a system implementation and review of literature

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Abstract

Background

The utilization of smartphone-based technology and applications to streamline patient care provides an exciting opportunity for quality improvement research. As traditional communication methods such as paging have repeatedly been shown to be susceptible to errors and inefficiency that can delay patient care, smartphones continue to be investigated as means of improving inter-hospital communication and patient outcomes.

Methods and materials

We conducted a systematic literature review in PubMed, MEDLINE using the keywords Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Compliant Group Messaging (HCGM), text paging communication, secure hospital text message, HIPAA text message, and secure hospital communication. The search considered studies published until January 2018. Only English-language studies were included. We reviewed the reference lists of included articles for additional studies, as well. Abstracts, unpublished data, and duplicate articles were excluded.

Results

569 studies were screened and assessed for eligibility with 35 meeting the inclusion criteria. 15 of these studies are data-driven with topics of investigation ranging from facilitation of communication (40%), security (33%), provider/patient satisfaction with communication (26%), diagnostic assistance (20%), demographics of use (13%), time spent in communication (13%), and finances (7%). Sample size per study varied from 30 to 10,000 encounters.

Conclusions

The use of smartphones can positively impact patient care; however, these benefits must be balanced with the responsibility to protect patient privacy and confidentiality. In order to continue to support HCGM's expansion and integration into daily practice, further data-driven studies into HCGM-specific interventions must be pursued.

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