“Nurses Say Pagers Must Go; Hospitals Drag Feet” – Did you read it?

iStockphoto | ThinkStock
iStockphoto | ThinkStock

InformationWeek writer Alison Diana recently wrote an article about the use of pagers in hospitals that we know will resonate with nurses everywhere.

Speaking about communication in the hospital, she notes that even though nurses have been asking for a better way to communicate with one other, many hospitals are slow on the uptake. We can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Here are some excerpts from the article:

At most hospitals, nurses are still required to communicate with colleagues and doctors via Voice over IP (VoIP) or pagers. But many nurses, who tend to be constantly on the go, are increasingly ignoring policy and are texting from their smartphones instead. This approach carries risks: Not only are the phones insecure, but they could also introduce germs into sterile environments.

Pagers may be less risky, but they aren’t efficient. They cost US hospitals $8.3 billion in 2013, according to a report by the Ponemon Institute: $3.2 billion through time-consuming discharge processes and another $5.1 billion while clinicians waited for patient information (an average of 46 per minutes per day).

She continues…

Fed up with waiting for pages, nurses are taking matters into their own hands. Although 89% of hospitals forbid the use of personal smartphones at work, 67% of hospitals report nurses are using their iPhones, Androids, and other devices to support clinical communications and workflow, according to a new report by Spyglass Consulting Group. Hospital IT departments know nurses are doing this, but they don’t have the time or the resources to monitor their usage. Of the 53% of hospitals with BYOD programs, only 11% include nursing staff.

Hospitals recognize they must improve nursing communications. According to Spyglass, only 4% currently have nursing smartphone systems installed, but 51% are investing in or evaluating these technologies, and half of the more than 100 hospitals surveyed have already implemented VoIP-based systems.

And gets to the heart of the issue for nurses…

Hospitals must improve their communication systems because medicine today involves so many specialists and handoffs, said Dr. Steven Davidson, senior VP and chief medical informatics officer at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. But most currently available tools don’t fit all requirements, especially as many hospitals use more than one EHR.

Read the entire story here, then tell us, is your hospital still using pagers? What do you think the best method of hospital communication is? What is your workplace doing (if anything) to alleviate any communication problems?

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