A survey on electronic communication in pediatric clinics.

Author(s): 
Publication Date: 
Jul 20, 2012

OBJECTIVE: Short message service (SMS) or text messaging is growing in use in personal, business, and more recently healthcare matters. If and how a tool used in adult healthcare may be transitioned to pediatric patients must be carefully studied to minimize potential harms. The current surveys were performed to examine approval for the use of SMS among both parents of pediatric patients as well as pediatric healthcare practitioners.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: A prospective, paper-based survey was distributed to parents of patients attending pediatric clinics in our large, urban medical center. An online survey was used to poll healthcare providers at all levels who provide care in those same clinics.

RESULTS: Overall approval was positive for the use of SMS, with appointment reminders being felt to be the most likely use for the technology by healthcare practitioners. Parental approval was highest when they were able to see the answers their children provided, but parents also approved of the use of SMS when they could not.

CONCLUSION: Among parents and healthcare providers at our large urban pediatric clinics, approval for SMS use was high for a large range of patient ages and clinical uses.