Emoji Usage Rising in Healthcare Settings

By Luke Bellos, Editor, TMCnet  |  February 22, 2022

Some say a picture is worth a thousand words, but does that apply to communications in the corporate world? Maybe not across the board, but it is growing true in the healthcare sector. According to the results of a recent study by PerfectServe, emoji usage in clinical healthcare settings is creating a positive impact on interactions between colleagues.

PerfectServe created the survey to find out how emoji usage among clinicians impacted well being during the recent pandemic. Although researchers anticipated a negative response to emoji usage, they were pleasantly surprised to reveal it had the opposite effect. Data from the report found clinicians utilized pictures to add a more positive, human element to standard text-based messages.

"We work with brilliant and dedicated clinicians every day, and it's an understatement to say that they take their jobs—which directly impact patients' lives—very seriously," said Kelly Conklin, MSN, CENP, Chief Clinical Officer for PerfectServe. “It was refreshing, and even a bit endearing, to see that, during a period rife with unprecedented stressors and pressure points, clinicians are finding a way to make care team communication friendlier and more light-hearted using the almost-universal language of emoji."

The PerfectServe report made some other interesting discoveries about emoji usage in clinical settings. For example, the “thumbs up” emoji was the most frequently used picture by clinicians to express quick acknowledgment of a message. Internal medical professionals were found to be the most frequent users of emojis for communications(25% of all recorded emoji usage), with orthopedics and physical medicine following behind (15.7% and 12.1%, respectively). The report also found a significantly higher amount of emoji usage in clinical settings on Thursdays and Fridays.

Healthcare communications between professionals and patients are often serious in tone. Including emojis is an easy way for participants to ease tension, cut stress and add some fun into conversations.

Edited by Maurice Nagle