(DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING) -- Texting imaging results poses several risks by Arun Krishnaraj MD MPH 10:15. 11:15. 12:15. I implored my wife to call her friend again. They had been communicating via Facebook during the week but had yet to settle on a location to meet for brunch. Two hours had passed since we last received a text, but still no confirmation on where to meet. Since his birth five months ago, our son has coopted my schedule and he dictates when and where I can eat. The window for going out for a meal can be ever so small. At 12:15 (and approaching nap number two) we had to call off the event. Later that afternoon we learned that the friend’s mobile phone reception was poor and she did not receive our phone message. While this may have spoiled our Sunday morning, it pales in comparison to the importance of accurate communication of radiology results in the hospital. Two and a half billion text messages are sent each day in the U.S., and in today’s wired society, text messages have eclipsed phone conversations. The current generation of trainees in radiology and other medical specialties likely prefer texting to direct communication, but are we missing something in these electronic messages? I believe so. Many of you reading this post wear pagers throughout each workday that allow other physicians, nurses, and support staff to contact you when necessary. This mode of communication has proven very effective in prompting a physician to phone back to a designated number. However, modern pagers go one step further, allowing full alphanumeric texts to be sent. I, along with many of my colleagues in radiology, am guilty of using the alphanumeric paging system to communicate study results. I find it more efficient as it allows me to continue to work through my queue. But this method of communication, I believe, is flawed and serves to hurt not only our profession but also patient care.
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