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Background: The utilization of smartphone-based technology to improve multidisciplinary communication and patient care provides an exciting opportunity for quality improvement research. In our institution, consult requests have traditionally been responded to verbally, in person or over the phone. Unfortunately, this is prone to communication errors and duplication of work. Approximately three years ago, our division developed a uniform consultation note that could easily be placed in the patient record. Additionally, we analyze the impact of a HIPAA compliant messaging system (“Tiger Connect™”) on communication inside and outside the interventional radiology (IR) department.

Methods and materials: The electronic health record (EHR) was searched and we identified four dimensions of data: number of formal consultation requests received per academic year; number of consult notes placed in the EHR; and total number of secure text messages sent and received by IR department members. We performed a survey of the department to understand perceptions of Tiger Connect.

Results: Over the last three years, a total of 14,185 formal IR consultation requests were made and 2,129 (15.0%) of those received a consult note. Since May of 2019, our department has sent over 35,720 Tiger Connect messages with nurses sending 60.7%, providers sending 37.3% and technologists sending 2.0% of all messages. Since the implementation of this system, text communication has increased by 938% with a corresponding drop in year-on-year consult notes by 13.2%. The IR department survey showed that the most common communication methods within the department were in person (43.5%) and personal text message (30.4%). Tiger Connect was the most common tool (56.5%) used for communication outside the IR department.

Conclusions: Together a secure messaging system and standardized consultation notes can positively impact communication within and outside the IR department. To understand the impact and future integration of text-message communications, data-driven studies must be pursued.


Presented at the University of New Mexico Health Science 2021 Annual Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Symposium



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