The demise of the pager and the emergence of a new collaboration ecosystem in healthcare

Terry Edwards

President and CEO

CIO Review

May 4, 2016

Back in the 1950s, physicians were among the first professionals to widely adopt the use of pagers. At that time, the technology was the quickest and easiest way to notify a fellow clinician about updates to a patient. For the first time, doctors were notified about critical patient updates, requests for urgent consultations and other priority communications, no matter where they were. Although technology has evolved dramatically since then, the majority of healthcare organizations still use pagers on a regular basis. This is indicative of some major challenges in healthcare, both in terms of its meandering approach to technology adoption and its reliance on communication channels that are primarily one-directional.

Over the past several years, the healthcare landscape has begun a dramatic shift to prioritize value over volume and refocus care around the patient. In practical terms, this shift is moving the industry to making patient care more collaborative, where all players—including practice-based physicians, nurses, specialists, home care providers and more—coordinate and collaborate to give patients the best quality care. And, they are doing so more efficiently.

Coordinating all of these players requires more than an aging and outdated one-directional tool like the pager; instead, the complex web of healthcare needs a unified solution that gives all doctors, nurses and other care team members the tools they need to get the right information to the right person, at the right time, in the right way.

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