Title: The increased use of WhatsApp® application within a colorectal surgery team

Authors: Pith Soh Beh; Suat Chin Ng; Amanda Nikolic; Matija Radojcic; Grace Chew; Nilmini Wickramasinghe; Philip Smart

Addresses: Austin Hospital, 145 Studley Rd, Heidelberg, Victoria 3084, Australia ' Eastern Health, 8 Arnold Street, Box Hill, Victoria 3128, Australia ' Austin Hospital, 145 Studley Rd, Heidelberg, Victoria 3084, Australia ' Austin Hospital, 145 Studley Rd, Heidelberg, Victoria 3084, Australia ' Austin Hospital, 145 Studley Rd, Heidelberg, Victoria 3084, Australia ' Swinburne University, John St, Hawthorn, Victoria, 3122, Australia ' Epworth Eastern, 1 Arnold St, Box Hill, Victoria 3128, Australia

Abstract: The aim of this study was to analyse the volume and pattern of usage, media types and message contents of a smartphone group communication app within an acute surgical unit. WhatsApp® chatgroup history of a colorectal unit from August 2017 till January 2018 was analysed. The messages were categorised into text and multimedia messages, and further classified into groups based on contents, time of transmission and position of sender. 69% (11 of 16) of the participants were aged between 20-29 years old. 5,004 (4,498 clinical, 506 non-clinical) messages were transmitted over six months. 242 (5%) were multimedia messages or photographs. Of the clinical messages, 3,721 (83%) messages were relevant to patient care. There was significant after-hours communication (1,156, 23%). WhatsApp® usage peaked in December (1,555 messages). WhatsApp® meets the communication demands of clinical practice in a surgical unit. Its ability to support multimedia formats has significant advantage over traditional communication tools. Despite data security concerns, its usage had increased over time.

Keywords: smartphone; WhatsApp®; information science; communication; surgical unit.

DOI: 10.1504/IJNVO.2021.114734

International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, 2021 Vol.24 No.2, pp.200 - 210

Received: 18 Oct 2019
Accepted: 07 May 2020

Published online: 21 Apr 2021 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article