Will smartphones replace the pager?

It seems inevitable.

A recent study showed that 64 percent of doctors use smartphones, such as an iPhone or a BlackBerry. Medical schools, such as Georgetown University and Ohio State University, are beginning to give them out to students.

And I can certainly see the allure. They’re more powerful than PDAs, and there’s a wealth of medical applications that are being written for the devices. More importantly, they can replace several devices – namely, the PDA, phone, and pager – and instead of a Batman-like belt of electronic tools, doctors can simply carry one.

As always, there will be people concerned about patient privacy, especially as sensitive information is being transmitted and stored on smartphones. But we’re past the tipping point.

The pager is growing more extinct by the day.

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  • anonymous

    They already have!!!

  • Anonymous

    They’re not dead yet. Nothing is as loud as my pager for getting your attention.

  • http://google.com/profiles/chrismartintx Chris

    I was a strong supporter of ditching our pagers at work (fire dept), until hurricane Ike last year. With the massive influx of evacuees, the cell phone networks could not take it & were rendered nearly useless. SMS was delayed >30 minutes & phone calls would take 20+ attempts to get through. I am still working towards getting our admin to use SMS to supplement pagers, but not replace them. 360 days of 2008 phones worked great here (Bryan, TX)… but those other 5 days, pagers became a very important tool.

  • http://www.CareerMedicine.com CareerMedicine

    I agree and I take most of my calls on my cellphone. I still keep a pager because that is a requirement of the bylaws of the hospital. Yes! you cannot maintain privileges in most hospital if you do not keep a pager. I have republished a post on outdated pagers which was on similar lines, to support this idea, on my blog CareerMedicine.

    Kevin I hope you don’t mind me posting this link.

  • GG Freeman

    Having recently switched from ATT to Verizon, I can tell you there are still many places in MANY hospitals where there isn’t even cell reception with BOTH carriers.

    In other words, until you can receive radio band signals on your smart-phone or until the hospital uses a cell repeater perhaps… or maybe PTT technology? … the pager will still be the go-to device.

  • stargirl65

    My pager just stopped working!! The company that ran my contract just stopped doing it and did not tell me. Maybe I was there only customer?
    The problem is that where I live there is very poor cell phone reception in many places – including my home. If I get a cell phone call I have to stand in a corner by a window or go outside. There is no reception anywhere at my neighbor’s home. So now I need a new pager company or a cell phone repeater in my house.

  • http://www.queens.org David Valentini

    Pagers still have a valid use in hospitals. We have over 800 pagers in use at our hospital, a combination of code group requirements, individual use pagers, etc. and we are working on reducing this number. We lease these pagers at a cost of $3.95/mo for a numeric and $5.95 for an alphanumeric. Smart phones are effective but the monthly costs of a smart phone versus the low cost of a pager make the “get rid of hospital pagers” argument ineffective but I could be wrong. I would rather pay $48 year to reach someone 24×7 than $600 year for a cell smart phone to reach vast quantities of people at a moments notice. Also, you run into employees and physicians who do not want to use their personally owned devices for business use. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions I would really like to hear from you. Thank you.

    David Valentini
    Telecom Manager

  • brenda

    My son lives in the Houston area. During the hurricane events of last year we had no trouble with sending text messages although we couldn’t get regular phone calls through.

  • http://www.yorkyates.com Dr York Yates

    I recently stopped carrying a pager altogether. I have told the E.R, hospital, surgical center, clinic and everyone I can think of to text or call my cell. This has made things much easier. I had one problem, however, with a patient trying to reach me on my pager that she got from my postoperative instruction sheet that didn’t get updated. She is a bit of a needy (and realizes this) and just assumed that I didn’t return her page because I didn’t want to talk to her. I looked lazy and thoughtless on that one. Make sure that there is a good month transition if you decide to ditch the pager.

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