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An Analysis of WhatsApp Usage for Communication Between Consulting and Emergency Physicians

Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate WhatsApp messenger usage for communication between consulting and emergency physicians. A retrospective, observational study was conducted in the emergency department (ED) of a tertiary care university hospital between January 2014 and June 2014. A total of 614 consultations requested by using the WhatsApp application were evaluated, and 519 eligible consultations were included in the study. The WhatsApp messages that were transferred to consultant physicians consisted of 510 (98.3 %) photographic images, 517 (99.6 %) text messages, 59 (11.3 %) videos, and 10 (1.9 %) voice messages. Consultation was most frequently requested from the orthopedics clinic (n = 160, 30.8 %). The majority of requested consultations were terminated only by evaluation via WhatsApp messages. (n = 311, 59.9 %). Most of the consulting physicians were outside of the hospital or were mobile at the time of the consultation (n = 292, 56.3 %). The outside consultation request rate was significantly higher for night shifts than for day shifts (p = .004), and the majority of outside consultation request were concluded by only WhatsApp application (p < .001). WhatsApp is useful a communication tool between physicians, especially for ED consultants who are outside the hospital, because of the ability to transfer large amounts of clinical and radiological data during a short period of time.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank to Associate Professor Fatih UCKARDES, Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics Adiyaman University Medical Faculty, for the statistical edition of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Umut Gulacti.

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No conflict of interest was declared by the authors

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The authors declared that this study has received no financial support

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Mobile Systems

Electronic supplementary material

ESM 1

View in the smartphone memory of Computerized Tomography transmitted via WhatsApp (WMV 15619 kb)

ESM 2

Patient monitor rhythm sound transmitted via WhatsApp as voice message (AAC 77 kb)

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Gulacti, U., Lok, U., Hatipoglu, S. et al. An Analysis of WhatsApp Usage for Communication Between Consulting and Emergency Physicians. J Med Syst 40, 130 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10916-016-0483-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10916-016-0483-8

Keywords

  • Consultation
  • Communication
  • Online systems
  • WhatsApp
  • Emergency department