Survey surprise: Pagers are lifesavers in hospitals

Smartphone use continues to grow, but a lack of cellular infrastructure keeps the tested technology of the ‘beeper’ a go-to device for medical professionals.

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Although mobile technology has evolved at blinding speed, hospital communications have lagged. According to a new study from the mobile tech company Spok, smartphone use is increasing, but some old habits die hard.

In the study, non-clinical staff report a preference for pagers (48 percent) over other devices, and only 77 percent of respondents say their hospital even supports smartphone use.

The study surveyed more than 300 health care professionals nationwide, highlighting impediments to universal mobile upgrades. The exciting possibilities provided by new technology may be tempting, but without a robust infrastructure, the report warns, use patterns are unlikely to change.

Spok’s report reveals that although smartphone use has increased, there is no standard mobile device across the medical industry.

Spok writes:

[Seventy-seven] percent of respondents report that their hospital supports [smartphones]. Wide-area pagers are gradually declining but are still used by 50 percent of respondents. And then there are the other devices that show a mixed trajectory.

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