Automated Text Messaging Feasible for Sharing Critical Test Results

July 23, 2018

Further large-scale investigations regarding efficiency of the messaging system are warranted.

Automated text messaging could be a feasible option for sharing critical test result (CTR) notifications (CTRNs) among radiologists, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Researchers from Korea investigated the feasibility of sharing CTRNs via text messaging among physicians in a tertiary hospital with 1,786 beds. From June 2016 to September 2016, notifications for 545 CTRs were given via a CTRN system. Of the 490 CTRs, 292 related to male patients and 198 to female patients; mean age, 53.6 years old.

The CTR levels were assigned to four categories (CTRL1 to CTRL3 and unclassified) when reported, and reclassified into three CTRLs according to their clinical relevance and urgency. Response time was defined as time lapse between CTR reporting and documentation by physicians. Analysis of variance was performed to compare response times according to CTRLs and patients’ location.

The results showed corresponding actions were taken in 404 of 490 cases (82.4 percent) without any delayed CTRN-related morbidity. Response time of reclassified CTRL3 was significantly longer than that of reclassified CTRL1 median 23 hours versus four hours. Response time of outpatient cases (80 [6 to 157] hours) was significantly longer than those of inpatient (3 [0-16]) and emergency department cases (5 [1-21]).

The researchers concluded that using automated text messaging to transmit CTRNs is a feasible option in radiology. However, they say that further large-scale investigations regarding efficiency of this system are warranted.