Only two types of people use pagers…

… doctors and drug dealers.  And I’m guessing even drug dealers have replaced the pager with the pre-paid cell phone.

A new study reveals that not only is pager technology use in health care archaic, it is actually costing the industry billions of dollars.  Physicians and nurses working in hospitals waste an average of 46 minutes a day when they use beepers to exchange information about patients, rather than modern alternatives like texting on smartphones.  That 46 minutes a day adds up… to the tune of more than $8 billion annually for hospitals.

Pagers are still the most commonly used form of communication in hospitals because they are considered more secure than mobile phones, ensuring that doctors and nurses are in compliance with HIPAA.  But replacing pagers with secure text messaging would be an easy solution – allowing doctors and nurses to communicate with technology they already have on them, their personal phones.  The time reduction?  Evidence suggests that patient discharge times could degree by 50 minutes.

Given the rise of mobile phones and healthcare apps, it’s only a matter of time before these communication dinosaurs go extinct – the question is how long will it take and why hasn’t it happened sooner?  I suspect that the next generation of physicians will be the ones to permanently make the switch.


About justgngr

the ramblings of a medical professional by day, judgmental ginger by night
This entry was posted in health policy, medicine, technology and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Only two types of people use pagers…

  1. Another great post! Personally, I can’t wait for the demise of the FAX Machine!

    BTW … I’ve nominated you for THE WORDPRESS FAMILY AWARD


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    I’m proud to point my readers in your direction!

  2. sqhc says:

    Reblogged this on Students for Quality Health Care and commented:
    quality improvement… just by getting rid of pagers? Intrigued we are!

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