Texting patient orders a no-no

David Williams with an interesting post about the Joint Commission issuing a ruling that texting of patient orders is unacceptable:

No it is not acceptable for physicians or licensed independent practitioners to text orders for patients to the hospital or other healthcare setting. This method provides no ability to verify the identity of the person sending the text and there is no way to keep the original message as validation of what is entered into the medical record.

My initial gut is that this prohibition makes sense, but David makes an appeal for more information that also rings true:

I understand the downsides but I’d be interested to learn more about what’s driving the use of texting for orders — if there is in fact such a trend. My guess is that younger physicians in particular are used to texting in their personal lives, finding it convenient, immediate, reliable, concise and likely to be read, acknowledged and acted on quickly. Add to that the fact that texting can easily be done from personal mobile devices and the appeal becomes pretty clear.

As someone who has been texted from the rear of my minivan by one of my teenagers saying they wanted to stop and get a drink, I am acutely aware that the preferred patterns of communication are not stable across time.


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