New Research Reveals the Hidden Costs of Pagers for Healthcare Organizations

New research has revealed that the “soft costs” of pagers in healthcare organizations could mean that hospitals are overpaying to maintain legacy paging services.

The study – sponsored by TigerText – was conducted by HIMSS Analytics and concerned pager use in more than 200 hospitals throughout the U.S. The majority of the survey´s participants had a direct role in the selection, purchase or management of pagers, and the study was supported by interview-based research with senior executives at the largest participating hospitals.

The report resulting from the study – “The Hidden Cost of Pagers in Healthcare” revealed that 90% of the surveyed organizations still use pagers and on average spend around $180,000 per year – with the average paging service costing $9.19 per month per device, compared to TigerText´s own research showing the cost of their secure messaging alternative to be less than $5 per month per user.

Commenting on the conclusion of the survey, Bryan Fiekers – Director of the Advisory Services Group for HIMSS Analytics – said: “This research uncovered that a significant number of hospitals still rely on pagers as a cost of doing business. “Legacy technology” can be difficult to replace despite that more advanced technology is available.”

Issues Identified with Pagers

HIMSS Analytics´ research uncovered significant “soft costs” from the continued use of pagers that contribute towards the money being spent on maintaining pager services. These “soft costs” included:

• The lack of two-way communication was the most commonly noted disadvantage of using pagers among the executives interviewed as part of the study.
• The limits of paging systems operating only on a single network – unlike Smartphones that communicate across multiple networks – was also seen as a disadvantage.
• Respondents generally agreed that one-way paging costs healthcare providers time due to the lack of providing full context and the option to ask questions.
• The inability to update contact directories and on-call schedules – critical to effectively reaching physicians – was identified as the cause of communication gaps.
• Survey respondents noted the inconvenience of carrying and managing more than one device.

Commenting on the conclusions of the survey, TigerText´s CEO and co-founder – Brad Brooks – said: “This survey illuminates why the healthcare industry should leave their pagers behind. We now know paging technology is not only a hindrance to sharing data and collaborating around a patient’s case, but also extremely costly to U.S. hospitals.”

Author: Steve Alder has many years of experience as a journalist, and comes from a background in market research. He is a specialist on legal and regulatory affairs, and has several years of experience writing about HIPAA. Steve holds a B.Sc. from the University of Liverpool.