I love texting. It's quick and it allows me to answer my questions on my own schedule. I don't have to stop what I'm doing to answer my phone or go find a land line to respond to a page. If I get a text I can determine the urgency of the communication and I can return the call when I get a chance. I also like texting doctors with requests for consults or with questions or to let them know things that are important for patient care. Bronch cultures came back positive? I just send them a text. Communication makes things happen faster inside hospital walls. However, sometimes communication fails. Take for example my own partner who changed cell phone numbers on me. If I was told, I forgot. Oops. I'm covering for her patients when I get a call from the nurse that Mr COPDer has passed away. I send my partner a text
Mr COPDer from room 621 died at 16:27 on 5/27/10. FYI.
Two minutes later I get a call back from some soft spoken dude (who sounded stoned) on the other end asking me who I am. I told him I was a physician. He said he didn't know what COPDer meant. I said never mind. I have the wrong number. Now stoner dude knows that Mr COPD died. I guess Mr Stoner has access to your medical information. That's what happens when text numbers aren't updated. I don't know all the rules and regulations of HIPAA, but something tells me a text like this may be a HIPAA violation from the grave. What do you think? Would a text confirming the death of a patient to the wrong party be an example of a HIPAA violation? If so, maybe no communication is better than some.