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The doctor will text you now: is there a role for the mobile telephone in health care?

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 15 March 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:607
  1. Badal Pal, consultant rheumatologist (
  1. South Manchester University Hospitals Trust

    Over the past year I have started to use the mobile phone, particularly SMS (Short Message Service) text messaging facilities, in routine clinical care. I have previously written about the virtues of direct email contact with patients and also the concept of cyberclinics in routine clinical practice (BMJ 2000;320:59). But whereas internet and email access remain relatively limited, the mobile phone and text messaging are widely used.

    Patients are more reassured and proactive

    Text messaging is an easy and convenient way of allowing patients to keep in touch. For example, after clinics and investigations the usual scenario is that patients wait (and worry) for several weeks before they get their results and information about any follow up action or advice. I have now slashed this waiting time to only a few days by allowing patients to text message me three to four days after their investigations. (I do not have to take patients' mobile telephone numbers, but they take a patient information …

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