The First of Its Kind: Texting the Dr.

I received what I thought was a very simple service request from a doctor a few months back.  The doctor was requesting a group of phone numbers that other doctors could dial direct to reach the on call doctor for specific hospital for new admissions. The doctor did not want to use his cell phone because the on-call doctor rotates.  Still, a simple request.  The complicated component is that the doctor also wants his associates, who prefer not to call, to be able to send a text message as well!

When first presented with the texting obstacle, I was at a loss.  The doctor started to look at other options.  He was looking at

Call24 Texting Drs.

On-Call Dr. receiving texts is unheard of! Source: pingmd.com

different phone companies and different answering services. Many could provide the phone number and change the on-call physician, but they could not receive the text message.

Our system has the ability to receive e-mailed messages and turn the messages into answering service messages.  Once the e mail has been received, our systems will e-mail, fax or text out the message.

Years back when texting was very new, texting to a phone was really sending an e-mail to it.  For example, my cellular service is with Verizon.  To send me a text message from the answering service we programed: my cell number @ vtext dot com.  Most people did not know this. You could also send a message straight from your e-mail to a cell phone.

We can text the doctor from our system, but we cannot receive text message back from cell phones that are not programed in our system.  If a doctor sent a text to the doctor it would not go to him. It would get lost in our system because it doesn’t know what account it is associated with. Our doctor doesn’t know all the potential doctors who may be calling so they all cannot be programmed.

Remembering the old texting ways, we combined 3 pieces of technology to make the request work.  For each hospital we set up individual e-mail accounts.  If a doctor prefers to send a message instead of calling, all they have to do is send a text to an e-mail.  All cells today can send text messages to e-mail addresses.  Each hospital has a separate account, when the e mail is received we then text that message to the on call doctor.

Our doctor client is now extremely happy that his associates and staff can reach him in whatever way they feel is most appropriate for the time.  He still gets most communication through phone calls, but the knowledge that a text will still come through leaves him with a little less stress and more bounce to his step.

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