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Secure text messaging and changes in patient outcomes

Opportunity

Suboptimal communication between health care professionals can lead to delays and errors in medical decision making, which can increase the length of hospital stay and readmissions. Secure text messaging technology can facilitate the delivery of medical information and provide a two-way exchange that improves the clinical workflow. 

Approach

We compared changes in inpatient length of stay and hospital readmission between medical units that adopted secure text messaging technology and medical units that did not.  We controlled for patient and hospital characteristics, as well as time trends.

Impact

We found that the adoption of secure text messaging led to a 14% decrease in patient length of stay in the hospital with no change in hospital readmissions.  The findings demonstrated that this platform could improve care coordination through improved communication.  As a result of the findings, Penn Medicine expanded the use of this technology from two medical floors in one hospital to all medical and surgical floors in two hospitals.

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Philadelphia, PA 19104