Do pagers have a place in modern healthcare?
In an age where smartphones reign supreme, it has become almost inconceivable that alternative forms of mobile communication still exist. However, in healthcare practices across the country, professionals still rely on archaic technologies, like pagers to remain productive.
Paging devices have long been a go-to solution for physicians due to the convenience and portability they offer – and during the ‘90s when pager usage was at its peak, there was nothing on the market to rival them. That’s no longer the case. Today, smartphones offer access to a plethora of solutions designed specifically for improving health outcomes both inside and outside hospital walls.
One such solution is secure mobile messaging. Unlike pagers, secure mobile messaging apps, such as DocbookMD and Medici, are designed specifically and solely for professional healthcare use. This means fewer compromises, a better user experience, and most importantly more effective health outcomes for patients. Below are just some of the reasons why secure mobile messaging is a better option than paging in today’s digital-first world.
Better communication leads to better patient outcomes
Communication within healthcare organizations is notoriously disjointed and often complicated, with archaic systems often to blame. A seemingly quick exchange of information typically has to relay through several parties and at any of those points, a message can easily wind up distorted or lost, leading to potential delays and errors.
Because pager messages are short and unspecific, they often require users to stop what they’re doing and make a phone call to obtain more details, and this time can soon mount up. 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, paving the way for miscommunication and errors.
With mobile messaging, users have the benefit of two-way or group communication, as well as the ability to share detailed information via text, images or attachments, which cuts out the need for regular phone calls. Plus, read receipts add a crucial layer of accountability.
When it comes to communication in healthcare, patient privacy is key. In order to comply with the rules of HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), organizations must meet a number of physical, administrative and technologicl safeguards. Achieving this while simultaneously improving workflows is not easily accomplished with pagers.
All healthcare professionals have a duty to protect their patient’s health data, and by using a HIPAA-secure mobile messaging app such as DocbookMD – which unlike paging devices are built with HIPAA compliance in mind – professionals can rest assured in the knowledge that sensitive patient information will remain safe whilst in transit and at rest.
Long-term cost savings
Another major benefit of mobile mobile messaging over pagers is cost. Mobile messaging is a relatively low cost solution and its scalability makes it a suitable option for organizations of all sizes – because it’s app based and there’s no additional hardware required, plus services can be scaled up or down easily which eliminates unnecessary overpayment or surplus devices being unused.
And long-term, the improved efficiency of mobile messaging over pagers can result in significant cost savings. 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!
Secure mobile messaging solutions can be an effective way to improve care coordination and communication in healthcare, as well as offering peace of mind when it comes to security and compliance. While pagers will continue to play their part in healthcare for years to come, their days do appear to be numbered.