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Smartphones let surgeons know WhatsApp: an analysis of communication in emergency surgical teams

Title: Smartphones let surgeons know WhatsApp: an analysis of communication in emergency surgical teams
Authors: Johnston, MJ
King, D
Arora, S
Behar, N
Athanasiou, T
Sevdalis, N
Darzi, A
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Background Outdated communication technologies in healthcare can place patient safety at risk. This study aimed to evaluate implementation of the WhatsApp messaging service within emergency surgical teams. Methods A prospective mixed-methods study was conducted in a London hospital. All emergency surgery team members (n = 40) used WhatsApp for communication for 19 weeks. The initiator and receiver of communication were compared for response times and communication types. Safety events were reported using direct quotations. Results More than 1,100 hours of communication pertaining to 636 patients were recorded, generating 1,495 communication events. The attending initiated the most instruction-giving communication, whereas interns asked the most clinical questions (P < .001). The resident was the speediest responder to communication compared to the intern and attending (P < .001). The participants felt that WhatsApp helped flatten the hierarchy within the team. Conclusions WhatsApp represents a safe, efficient communication technology. This study lays the foundations for quality improvement innovations delivered over smartphones.
Issue Date: 1-Jan-2015
Date of Acceptance: 31-Jul-2014
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/60416
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amjsurg.2014.08.030
ISSN: 0002-9610
Publisher: Elsevier
Start Page: 45
End Page: 51
Journal / Book Title: American Journal of Surgery
Volume: 209
Issue: 1
Copyright Statement: © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This manuscript is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Sponsor/Funder: National Institute for Health Research
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
Funder's Grant Number: NF-SI-0510-10186
RDPSC 79560
RDPSC 79560
Keywords: Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Information technology
Patient safety
Cell Phone
Emergency Medical Services
General Surgery
Interprofessional Relations
Mobile Applications
Patient Care Team
Patient Safety
Prospective Studies
Time Factors
Cell Phones
1103 Clinical Sciences
Publication Status: Published
Online Publication Date: 2014-10-22
Appears in Collections:Department of Surgery and Cancer
Institute of Global Health Innovation