Health care providers can be funny about confidentiality, and by “funny” I mean anal retentive, obsessive compulsive and paranoid. Not only did our mothers raise us better than to try to get your attention by yelling across a room, “Hey! Guy with herpes!” it’s also the law that we keep your personal health information private. And frankly, nobody here wants to go to jail over a pap smear confidentiality breach.
While we’re always mindful of our obligation to protect your privacy, we’re also always on the lookout for new ways to reach you more effectively. With that in mind, I recently chanced upon an interesting study from 2006 entitled, “Texting decreases the time to treatment for genital Chlamydia trachomitis infection.”
At a sexual health clinic in the UK, patients were divided into two groups. One group received cell phone text messages about their STI testing results (discreet messages like ‘all of your results were negative’ or ‘please call/return to the clinic’ with a phone number). The control group got the traditional “phone-tag” method.
The results of the study were interesting. The time to treatment for the texting group was SEVEN AND A HALF DAYS shorter than the traditional phone notification group! Not only that, but it required a lot less manpower for the clinic staff, which translates into cost and time savings to provide more clinical services.
So here’s my question for you, young Buckeyes. Would you be willing to have less secure communications with Student Health Services for the sake of quicker notification and treatment? Would you be willing to waive a bit of your privacy rights for the sake of a faster information turnaround? Post a comment and let us know – we promise we won’t tell anyone…
Victoria Rentel, MD (Ohio State Student Health Services)