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Monday, September 22, 2008

Text Messaging Consultants: I'd Like It.

Last week I had a patient in the hospital who had to stay 24 hours longer than I thought she needed to stay because it was difficult for nursing staff to contact all the doctors that were providing her care and clear the discharge home order. Essentially, I came in to make rounds and the patient wanted to go home. She was eating, having BMs, and was in no pain, and she felt that she would get better rest at home. I reviewed her chart and agreed with the patient that she could go home. However, I wanted to coordinate her care with all the other consultants who had helped on her case, such as pulmonary, ID, hospitalist, and general surgery. Aside for writing an order "d/c home if OK by pulm, hospitalists, ID, and general surgery services" I had no efficient way to convert the order to action.

To make a long story short, it took 18 hours to contact all the consultants and to finally get an OK for the discharge and then another 6 hours to make arrangements to actually get the patient home.

I have a better way. Doctors or their services ought to use SMS. I could then send one text message to all 5 consultants-or their services--and then the doctor could simply reply "yes" "no" or "?" to me and then I'd give the order, or not. I think it would save time and simultaneosly improve care to patients and communication amongst consultants and primaries.

Ain't gonna happen, but it would be nice.