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Interest continues to grow around the most appropriate use of smartphones, tablet devices and related software in the modern healthcare setting. The meteoric rise of the smartphone in broader society has resulted in increasing numbers of healthcare professionals informally introducing this technology to the workplace. High-quality data to support device use in treatment and decision making are thus far lacking, but the potential benefits of deploying such technology are increasingly recognised.1 2
Research we have conducted at the University Hospital Limerick (UHL), Ireland, identified the widespread use of the instant messenger software ‘WhatsApp’ for communication between health professionals. Responding to an anonymised survey, 80% (n=41/51) of the intern cohort at UHL confirmed that instant messaging systems are already informally integrated into modern medicine in Ireland. We found that 100% of respondents have a WhatsApp account and that 100% have an active ‘group chat’ used for clinical medicine at UHL. These WhatsApp groups can vary, with approximately 10% including only interns, 70% also including senior house officiersand registrars, and up to 20% of groups including …
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