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Printable Version
October 21, 2017
43029.541667 - 43029.625
Room Exhibit Hall B2 - Area C
Improved Healthcare Team Member Intergroup Communication Using the HIPAA-Compliant Smart Phone App TigerText
Ketan Chopra, M.D., Joel Strehl, D.O., John McCormick-Deaton, D.O., Shannon Rosati, M.D., Roy Golden, M.D., Matthew Haley, B.S., Qingwen Kawaji, M.Sc., Michael Drapiza, B.A., Steven Tennenberg, M.D.
Wayne State University School of Medicine/Detroit Medical Center, Detroit, Michigan, United States
Disclosures: K. Chopra: None. J. Strehl: None. J. McCormick-Deaton: None. S. Rosati: None. R. Golden: None. M. Haley: None. Q. Kawaji: None. M. Drapiza: None. S. Tennenberg: None.
Introduction: Effective healthcare team member communication is essential for optimal patient care. TigerText® (TT) is a cross-platform, HIPAA-compliant, mobile group messaging application (app) that allows the private and secure exchange of text messages between a group of users over cellular or WiFi networks via smart phones. This study aimed to test the deployment and effectiveness of TT in improving intergroup communication among predominantly resident-based hospital healthcare teams. Our primary goal was to deploy TT on a large scale and determine its impact on overall satisfaction with intergroup communication between healthcare team members. Secondarily, we sought to determine if TT use improved situational awareness of patients’ clinical statuses, improved perceptions of patient care and outcomes, improved transition of care (handoff) functions, and enhanced medical education.

Methods: A prospective, interventional study was conducted among multiple ICU and medical/surgical healthcare teams in four academic hospitals. Healthcare team members downloaded the TT app onto their cell phones and a team messaging group was created. Team members completed a pre- and post-month survey with Liekert scale questions (strongly disagree to strongly agree, rated 1-5) to evaluate their communication satisfaction and effectiveness before and after a month of TT use. Two control months were performed (TT not used), followed by an interventional month. Pre- and post-TT survey response data are mean ± SD and comparisons were made with paired and unpaired t-tests. P value of < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: A total of 24 healthcare teams (8 ICU and 16 medical/surgical) were studied, comprised of 280 - 350 team members monthly. Survey response rates were 25 - 34%. During the control months (n = 104), the need for effective communication scored highest (4.83 ± 0.7), while satisfaction with current communication methods scored significantly lower (3.72 ± 1.0). During the month of TT use (n = 98 pre-TT period, n = 121 post-TT period for all responses, n = 82 for paired responses), the need for effective communication again scored highest (4.68 ± 0.61, pre-TT). The primary endpoint of satisfaction with intergroup communication during the TT period was significantly improved (3.47 ± 0.8 vs 3.81 ± 0.8, pre- vs post-TT period, P < 0.01). Questions regarding the app’s ability to improve intergroup communication and overall satisfaction with TT demonstrated above mid-range scores (3.64 ± 1.0 and 3.63 ± 1.0, respectively). There were fewer difficulties with intergroup communication when using TT (3.24 ± 1.0 vs 2.86 ± 1.1, paired responses, pre- vs post-TT period, P < 0.02). Scores were above mid-range for improvements in clinical situational awareness (3.48 ± 1.1). While respondents generally did not believe that their communication methods led to suboptimal patient care or adverse patient outcomes, TT use led to improvements in these areas (2.71 ± 0.9 vs 2.48 ± 0.9 and 2.40 ± 0.9 vs 2.09 ± 0.8, paired responses, pre- vs post-TT period, P < 0.02). TT did not lead to improvements in transition of care (3.08 ± 1.0) or medical education (2.92 ± 1.0).

Conclusions: Effective intergroup communication was strongly believed to be essential for high quality in-hospital healthcare. The HIPAA-compliant, group messaging smart phone app TigerText was readily deployed and successfully used across a wide range of ICU and medical/surgical hospital-based healthcare teams. TT improved overall satisfaction with intergroup communication. Perceptions of clinical situational awareness were modestly favorable. Participants believed that the use of TigerText led to less communication-related detrimental effects on patient care and outcomes. There were no perceived improvements in the transition of care process or medical education in this short-term trial. TigerText is an effective tool to improve healthcare team member intergroup communication.

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