Physicians favor texting medical orders more than nurses

Accreditation Insider, May 24, 2016

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Earlier this month, The Joint Commission announced that it would allow medical orders to be sent via text message, provided that the texting platform was secure. The accreditor had originally banned texting medical orders back in 2011 due to concerns over encryption and verification.

Medscape News recently held a poll asking what healthcare workers if they approved of the accreditor’s decision and how long it would take for facilities to create their own texting policies. As of this article’s publishing, 51% of healthcare professionals across all specialties strongly favored the use of text messages, with 18% saying they somewhat favor the decision. Only 9% said they somewhat opposed using text messages, 13% said they strongly opposed, and the remainder were neutral.

Physicians responded more favorably on the issue than nurses. Out of 100 physician respondents, 78% either strongly favored or somewhat favored The Joint Commission ruling. Meanwhile, out of 649 nursing respondents 68% favored the ruling, with 14% strongly opposed to texting medical orders. Both nurses and physicians saw their facilities implementing texting order policies:

•    12% very quickly
•    15% somewhat quickly
•    32% not very quickly
•    16% not at all quickly
•    18% not in the foreseeable future

The Joint Commission plans to release additional information on its new texting policy next month. The accreditor says that the new guidance will cover how frequently medical orders can be texted, the requirements for read back/text back confirmation, and the difference between text orders that are digitally or manually entered into the electronic health record. Resources are available from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, with information on mobile devices and health information privacy and security and how to manage mobile devices in healthcare. Those seeking more information should contact Christina Cordero at

View our previous coverage to see The Joint Commission’s requirements on appropriate texting platforms and policy details.

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