Why haven’t you considered secure communication to transform your clinical results? - Clinical Decision Support Systems | Alcidion
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Why haven’t you considered secure communication to transform your clinical results?

It’s estimated around 85 percent of US hospitals still rely on pagers for communication, so you can imagine Australia is still a long way from secure communication over a smartphone being the norm.

Back in 2009 KevinMD predicted that smartphones would overtake the pager as the main mode of communication in hospitals. If we were talking about smartphones replacing pagers eight years ago, why hasn’t it happened yet?

This fast-paced technologically advanced world has seen a single device, the tiny smartphone, replace the telephone, fax machine, scanner, digital camera and computer, yet they still haven’t replaced pagers in the clinical setting.

Strange, isn’t it?

Especially because hospitals were so technologically advanced in the 1950s, doctors were among the first to adopt paging technology. It is becoming clear, though; they will almost certainly be the last to bid pagers farewell.

So why are hospitals still using the humble pager, when there is so much powerful technology out there?

Perhaps hospitals have been so focused on the implementation of EMRs that the improvement and innovation of other hospital functions have been push aside? Perhaps it is the fear of making more changes that don’t yield measurable results? Maybe it is even a wariness of emerging technology companies who haven’t had decades of experience in the industry? Or maybe it is a time and resource limitation?

Regardless of the causation over the past 16 years (that is how long Alcidion has been around), new technology is continually being adapted to suit the clinical setting, offering novel opportunities to improve healthcare.

The paging system is one area that is evolving to use modern technology. Let’s face it, it is nearing 70 years since hospitals began using pagers and we still face all the same frustrations due to the limitations paging place on communication, which includes;


Nurses can’t be sure their message was received until a receive a response; therefore, they are likely to keep paging until they have one. Such repetition results in lost time for the nurses and interruptions for the doctor.

Communication is limited

Communication via pagers often requires clarification, which means a doctor needs to stop what they are doing to make a phone call.


Why carry multiple communication devices when one can do it all? As I mentioned earlier, the smartphone has already replaced so many machines, many of which are a lot larger and more complex than a pager. In a world that is ever more complex and connected, it is time for hospital communication to catch up.

At the pager’s peak, in 1994, there were 61 million pagers in the world. Today that number is just a few million, and it is falling. Unless you have been living in the ‘90s for the past 17+ years, the rest of the world has replaced pagers with smartphones. We think the healthcare sector would do well to follow suit because…

Pagers enable more complex communication

Smartphones extend the level of communication, it can be more detailed, and images can be attached.

The communication cycle is shorter

Smartphones provide secure two-way communication with immediate delivery and read responses, rather than needing to action acknowledgement. The deepening of communication results in fewer phone calls and fewer interruptions for doctors, and it only takes seconds to read and respond to a text.

Staff happiness

More efficient staff communications will also result in more satisfied staff.

Streamline the tool belt

Replacing pagers with smartphones cuts down on the number of devices medical staff need to have on their person. Some healthcare staff require multiple pagers, imagine reducing all that to one smartphone!

Taking healthcare into the future

Smartphones have the power to improve healthcare from many angles, not just secure communication. Healthcare teams can do a great deal from a smartphone already, make calls, receive critical alerts, view results and depending on how advanced your organisation is, perhaps even more. These functionalities are only going to be extended to improve workflows, so it makes sense to go full circle and create a rock-solid modern messaging foundation for your organisation.

A team approach

Pagers do not have the ability to maintain group communication; secure communication on smartphones enables teams to consult on a course of action through group messaging. Secure team-centric communication results in better patient care.

Better, faster care

Improved communication, happier staff and a team-centric approach will increase efficiency and improve clinical outcomes, which results in better, faster decisions to save lives.

Have you considered integrating secure communication through smartphones into your hospital?

Register here to find out more about modern clinical messaging, we will be hosting a webinar soon to hear how some hospitals have left their pagers behind for smartphones, if you sign up we will be sure to send you an invite!

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