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Title: Smartphone addiction: the rise of WhatsApp and incessant work.
Epworth Authors: Nikolic, Amanda
Wickramasinghe, Nilmini
Smart, Philip
Other Authors: Radojcic, Matija
Beh, P.
Chew, Grace
Keywords: Smartphone
Communication Applications
Instant Messaging Services
Patterns of Usage
Data Security
Colorectal Unit
Chair of Health Informatics Management, Epworth HealthCare, Victoria, Australia
General Surgery and Gastroenterology Clinical Institute, Epworth HealthCare, Victoria, Australia
Issue Date: Jun-2018
Conference Name: Epworth HealthCare Research Week 2018
Conference Location: Epworth Research Institute, Victoria, Australia
Abstract: Background: The use of smartphone-based communication applications amongst clinicians in Victorian hospitals is pervasive. The demands of modern medicine, with its heavy reliance on instant messaging services with the ability to support multimedia content have made applications such as Whatsapp® indispensable. Despite the availability of a competing platform which complies with Australian privacy regulations, Whatsapp® has remained the most popular application amongst Victorian clinicians. Aim: To analyse the patterns of usage, media types and message contents of a dedicated Whatsapp® channel within a Colorectal Unit, despite privacy and data security concerns. Methods: Communication within a Whatsapp® chatgroup of a Colorectal Unit over a -month period was analysed. The number, content, author and timing of messages were noted. Results: A total of 5764 messages were transmitted during the 6 month period. The multimedia platform support of Whatsapp® was utilised, with a substantial amount of multimedia messages or photographs transmitted within the chatgroup (655, 11%). The majority of messages sent were clinically relevant to patient care (5222, 77%). Most communication occurred during working hours, however there was significant after-hours communication as well (1337, 23%). The trend of Whatsapp® usage has been increasing over the study period, with a peak of usage in December, with 1527 messages transmitted. Conclusion: Text and multimedia support by Whatsapp® meets the communication demands of clinical practice of a surgical unit. Its ability to support multimedia format has significant advantage over traditional communication tools, such as Short Message Service (SMS), paging systems and telephone calls. Despite privacy and data security concerns, its usage has increased over time. Potential drawbacks of substantial after-hour communication and non-clinically related messaging could impact clinicians despite its advantages.
Type: Conference Poster
Affiliated Organisations: Department of Surgery, Austin Health, Melbourne, Australia
Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Type of Clinical Study or Trial: Prospective Study
Appears in Collections:Health Informatics
Research Week

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