Introduction of an online discussion forum and electronic communication practice in a tertiary-level Anaesthesia Department

Brenton Sanderson, Jeremy Field


Objective: Electronic communication mediums provide an opportunity for clinicians to enhance communication, collaboration, and sharing of clinical experience, especially via mobile devices. In 2016, the authors implemented a private online discussion forum in a tertiary-level anaesthesia department to improve communication and collaboration amongst members. The objective of this survey was to assess if these aims were met, to determine the degree of communication medium duplication incurred by its introduction, and to assess departmental communication practices more generally.
Methods: A qualitative anonymous online survey was conducted 18 months following the introduction of the online discussion forum, over a two-month period. All 120 medical staff were invited via forum message and hard-copy invitation and responses were stratified by training status.
Results: Forty-seven responses were collected (39% response rate), comprising 31 anaesthesia specialists and 16 anaesthesia trainees. Sixty-one percent of respondents reported that discussion had improved following the introduction of the online discussion forum, with no significant difference between specialists and trainees. Despite this, 57% overall maintained a preference for email discussion.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated that the introduction of an online discussion forum resulted in a perceived improvement in overall departmental communication. However, it is important that workplaces considering implementation of a similar communication medium determine their employees’ cultural perspectives on technology, established communication preferences and aims of implementation to ensure success.

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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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