Delivery of Care| Volume 213, P84-89, June 01, 2017

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Hospital text paging communication as a surgical quality improvement initiative

Published:February 20, 2017DOI:



      Studies on medicine wards have shown that numeric pages can be disruptive of workflow and patient care. We created a quality improvement program among surgical ward nurses and residents and hypothesized that a text-based, urgency-stratified initiative would improve communication at no detriment to patient care.


      Surgery residents recorded preintervention data for 1 mo including number of total pages, text pages, and numeric pages received from surgical floors. Nurses and residents completed surveys to assess preintervention satisfaction with communication, responsiveness, and workflow. Nurses were then instructed to use text paging for nonurgent issues. Paging data were again recorded for 1 mo, surveys repeated, and patient safety and satisfaction data collected. Primary endpoints evaluated included patient safety and satisfaction data. Secondary endpoints included communication satisfaction of nurses and residents.


      After text paging implementation, 40.1% of nonurgent pages sent from nurses to resident physicians were alphanumeric texts versus only 17.9% before implementation (P < 0.0001). There was a 19.5% reduction in the number of nonurgent numeric pages sent (P < 0.0001). Overall, 70% of nurses responded postintervention that text paging was the preferred method of contacting a physician and that the text paging initiative improved efficiency. After implementation, 62% of nurses thought that overall communication with clinicians improved. In addition, there was no change in patient safety issues or patient satisfaction.


      Our text paging initiative for all nonurgent pages from nurses to residents improved physician–nurse workflow and communication on the surgical ward with no decrease in patient satisfaction or safety.


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