Case Study: Text Messaging from the Operating Room

At the Healthcare Internet Conference in Las Vegas earlier this month, I got to hear about some innovative projects being implemented by other hospitals and systems. One of these was shared by Owen DeWitt of Las Colinas Medical Center in Irving, Texas.

Owen is Director of Marketing for this hospital, and he wanted to be able to provide text message updates to family members waiting for information about a loved one having surgery. In the video below, he describes how he went about getting the system established, using a freelance programmer:

This seems like a really nice service, and I like the way he went about getting it set up. I think sometimes internal IT staff get an undeserved bad rap as being obstructionist or foot-draggers, but in reality they need to focus on the institution’s priorities. A text message update system is a “nice to do” but things like the electronic medical record (and the payroll system) are essential activities.

So it makes a lot of sense to hire a freelancer to work on these extra projects, and the Las Colinas group should be commended for understanding that and enabling Owen and his team to work with outsiders to provide this service to patients and their families.