As most healthcare providers already know, the Joint Commission just lifted its ban on texting orders (with caveats). Here at Doximity, we’re supportive of this movement in policy especially as it’s aligned with our own mission: to connect all U.S. clinicians to each other in order to enhance communication and improve their daily workflow. We asked five Doximity members what they think about the Joint Commission’s new stance on texting:

"In a time when most physician offices and hospitals have electronic medical records, and almost all physicians communicate with each other and with patients digitally, texting is simply the next logical step in physician-to-physician communication. With measures to ensure secure and confidential information, texting can enhance patient care. It can provide faster answers to patient questions, ensure faster referrals, and offer peer-to-peer advice."

-Kristin Sokol, MD, MS, MPH
Instructor, Department of Allergy and Inflammation
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

"I think texting orders are a great idea because verbal orders can be misunderstood at times and we deal with bad phone connections at times with skipping of parts of the conversation."

-Rodney Samaan, MD
Founder
ProgressiveMD

"Wow! This could really have a positive impact on care. I think of my colleagues on the outpatient team. They field calls and make care adjustments while on the road. The ability to text an order to pharmacy could present a rapid way to impact care. I could envision an NP meeting with family and dictating to text prescription orders and changes as they come up. At the end of the visit, check the text, and the number, send. A realtime way to eliminate the phrase, 'I forgot to order that.'"

-Craig Durie, NP
Family Nurse Practitioner

"Finally, physicians can move beyond the pager and start embracing secure technology in communicating orders. This should go a long way in improving patient care as well as workflow for physicians."

-Armand Krikorian, MD
Program Director, Internal Medicine Residency Program
Advocate Christ Medical Center

"I applaud the Joint Commission's new stance to lift the ban on texting orders. This will enable providers to improve care for patients by reducing length of stay‎, without leading to an increase in rates of readmission. This was demonstrated in a recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. The University of Pennsylvania study examined over 11,000 patients in two separate hospitals. One hospital adopted secure text messaging, switching from a standard paging system, reducing length of stay (LOS) from / to 5.4 days within a month's time. The other hospital continued to use its standard paging system, and noted no change in length of stay. In making the transition to texting orders as well as other provider-to-staff communication, it's vital that health care systems have policies in place to record and document texts electronically or manually in the electronic health record (EHR). Some EHRs have built-in and secure platforms for texting, which allow integration of the received texts. However, there are still many that don't, making this an important area to place attention when adopting the new policy change to integrate texting for communication."

-Robert Glatter, MD
Attending Physician, Emergency Medicine
Lenox Hill Hospital