New Research Reveals the Hidden Costs of Pagers for Healthcare Organizations

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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: HIPAA Journal

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