Texting Between Doctors and Patients
Breast-cancer survivors who used text messaging to update their doctors were able to visit clinics less and have their drains removed sooner, according to a new study.
Roshni Rao, M.D., of the Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, conducted research on two groups of women who underwent reconstructive surgery after a breast-cancer diagnosis.
The group who kept their physicians up to date on their condition had fewer doctor visits than the other group in a 90-day period after their cancer surgery. They also made fewer telephone calls. And they were more able to undergo drain removal in their first clinic visit.
But although 77 percent of mobile phone subscribers have text-messaging capability, texting between ph ysicians and patients is still in its early stage. The biggest objections: an inability to integrate medical records with a texting system, and a failure to compensate physicians for the time they spend on texting. Patients, too, are reluctant to pay for the physician fees that would be involved in texting.
The findings were published in "Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery."