Out with pagers, in with mobile messaging

Pagers, also known as beepers, have been the backbone of communication for healthcare organizations for more than six decades. The technology was first developed back in the 1940s, and by the time the 90s came around, they were a standard piece of kit on the belt of almost every healthcare professional in the U.S.

Fast forward to 2017 and pagers are seeing a significant decline in popularity. The main contributor to this change is the fact paging is often regarded as a time-consuming and inefficient method of communication. A Ponemon Institute study concluded that the manpower hours lost due to the inefficient nature of pagers was costing each healthcare organization an average of $557,000 per year.

Problems arise because recipients often have to call back the original message sender in order to obtain full details and prioritize their workflows. This can create a hoop-jumping system, especially if one party is not immediately available, paving the way for miscommunication and errors. The lack of message accountability is also a major issue with pager communication, as it can be difficult to know when a recipient has received and read a message. For these reasons and more, an increasing number of healthcare organizations are looking to secure mobile messaging solutions as a more secure, more efficient, and more cost-effective alternative to pagers.

Communicating effectively and securely, without compromise
When it comes to choosing a healthcare communication platform, efficiency is not enough, it must also be secure and in line with the rules of HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ). In order to comply with HIPAA, healthcare organizations must meet a number of security and privacy safeguards, as detailed fully on the HHS website. Although the HIPAA rules do not specifically mention pager communications, the HIPAA Security Rule stipulates that physical, administrative and technology safeguards must exist for any electronic communication to be HIPAA-compliant.

Achieving HIPAA compliance while simultaneously improving workflows is not easily achieved with archaic communication tools like pagers. Secure mobile messaging platforms however, allow for a fast, real-time exchange of information in a secure, encrypted environment – every message sent and received through a secure messaging app can be accounted for. What’s more, in the event that a mobile device is lost or stolen, remote lock and wipe functionality ensures sensitive data remains safe – something that can not be guaranteed with pagers. It is these benefits and more that are persuading more and more healthcare professionals to make the switch from paging to mobile messaging.

Whether knowingly transmitting sensitive information or not, all healthcare professionals have a duty to protect their patient’s health data. By using a secure mobile messaging app, such as DocbookMD, professionals can rest assured in the knowledge that their messages will remain safe whilst in transit and at rest. There are many benefits in switching from paging to mobile messaging, speak to us today to find out more.