Why Hospitals Need to Consider Pager Replacements
There are three primary reasons why a paging alternative for hospitals should be considered by healthcare organizations – the costs of running the paging system, the lack of efficient communication provided by pagers and HIPAA compliance.
The costs of running paging systems were highlighted recently in a study conducted by HIMSS Analytics, produced after researchers had investigated the cost of running a pager communications system in 200 hundred hospitals with a hundred beds or more.
The study revealed that large healthcare organizations spend an average of $179,000 per year for pager systems in hospitals, and that the average cost of running a single device is $8.40 per month. Researchers also found that the single most popular reason for persevering with pagers – rather than finding a cheaper paging alternative for hospitals – is their “perceived reliability”.
Pagers are Not Only Costly, but Inefficient
The lack of efficient communication provided by pagers is widely acknowledged in the healthcare industry. When medical professionals are contacted by pager, they often have to call back the sender of the message to find out further details in order to establish what priority the message should be given.
The process is time-consuming and can result in phone tag if the sender of the message is not immediately available, or in errors being introduced into the conversation. Due to the limited record-keeping of messages communicated by pager, there is also a lack of message accountability.
The inefficiency of pagers was picked up by CNN Money in 2013. In an article in which pagers were described as “archaic communication technology”, CNN Money claimed that pagers were costing the healthcare industry billions of dollars each year.
To support its claims, CNN Money reproduced part of a study conducted by the Ponemon Institute that showed:
- Medical professionals wasted an average of 45 minutes each day playing phone tag.
- A paging alternative for hospitals could accelerate patient discharge times by 50 minutes.
- The time saved by eliminating phone tag and accelerating discharges would save medical facilities an average of more than $550,000 per year in staffing costs.
Secure Messaging as a Paging Alternative for Hospitals
A popular paging alternative for hospitals is secure messaging. Secure messaging works by creating a private communications network for each healthcare organization and then only allowing authorized personnel to access it. Access to the private network is via secure messaging apps that work across all operating systems and can be downloaded onto any desktop computer or mobile device.
Using the HIPAA-compliant messaging apps, medical professionals and other authorized personnel can send messages and receive replies, or access test results and share images, with no risk to the integrity of PHI. Due to features such as delivery notifications and read receipts, the need to play phone tag is eliminated and 100% message accountability is assured.
Secure messaging provides the speed and convenience of mobile technology with enterprise-grade security. As a paging alternative for hospitals, secure messaging is quick and easy to implement. Authorized users will be familiar with the text-like interface of the apps, and used to their operation if they have previously used a commercially available messaging app such as iMessage or Whatsapp.
How TigerText Increases Productivity and Reduces Errors
TigerText is a leading provider of secure messaging solutions for the healthcare industry. More than 5,000 medical facilities – including four of the top five for-profit healthcare systems – have implemented TigerText as a paging alternative for hospitals, and our servers currently process in excess of ten billion secure messages each year.
TigerText has proved itself to be a reliable, versatile and HIPAA-compliant secure messaging solution that includes many unique features to accelerate the communications cycle within a healthcare organization. Among these features is a group messaging facility – a facility that not only fosters collaboration between medical professionals, but that significantly reduces time waste during hospital admissions and patient discharges.
Examples of where TigerText´s paging alternative for hospitals have increased productivity include:
- Nurses at the Wellcon medical facility at the Salt Lake County Adult Detention Center cumulatively saved 12-15 work hours per day following the implementation of TigerText – enabling them to see fifteen more patients per shift.
- Community nurses at the Limestone Medical Center were able to compliantly communicate patient care needs from their mobile phones once TigerText´s paging alternative for hospitals had been implemented – saving each more than one hour a day.
- Patient wait times were reduced by 50% at Orange County Community Clinics after TigerText had been implemented to synchronize communications between the organization´s eight locations and improve message accountability.
TigerText has also been used as part of an emergency disaster plan when a two-hour power outage struck the answering service provider for Optimal Health Services and, when integrated into an EMR, the paging alternative for hospitals can also help reduce patient safety incidents and medication errors according to a survey conducted by the Tepper School of Business at the Carnegie Mellon University in 2015.
How TigerText Reduces Healthcare Organizations´ Costs
After reading the HIMSS Analytics report mentioned at the beginning of this article, we used data from medical facilities that have already implemented TigerText´s paging alternative for hospitals and found that the average cost of TigerText to healthcare organizations is less than $5.00 per user, per month.
It is also worth noting that TigerText operates via a “Software-as-a-Service” cloud-based platform, so there are no hardware costs associated with setting up the secure messaging solution. Healthcare organizations will not need to dedicate the resources of an IT department to install complicated software, and medical professionals will require minimal training on the use of the secure messaging apps due to their familiar text-like interface.
We also mentioned earlier how the Ponemon Institute concluded that the time saved by eliminating phone tag and accelerating discharges would save medical facilities an average of more than $550,000 per year in staffing costs. This was more than speculation according to Gene Thomas, Vice President and Chief Information Officer at the Memorial Hospital of Gulfport. Gene told us, “Since deployment, we’re saving hundreds of thousands of dollars using TigerText.”
Speak with TigerText about a Paging Alternative for Hospitals
If you would like to find out more about the benefits of our paging alternative for hospitals, you are invited to contact us and request a non-obligation demonstration of TigerText in action. Our team can answer any questions you may have regarding the implementation of secure messaging solutions and how they can increase productivity and reduce costs in your healthcare organization.