A new mobile paging system brings easier, faster communication for on-call providers

October 27, 2015


The loud beeps and vibration from a small black pager alert providers that urgent communication is needed. But other than a number to call back, there isn’t much information these pages provide on either side of the equation. The physician doesn’t have accurate information as to the urgency of the page or what it may concern. The person paging doesn’t have any way to close the loop and know if the communication has been received by the right person.

“Pagers themselves are outdated,” said Dr. Joan Shook, chief safety officer. “Everyone is accustomed to using phones for communication and we know it’s much more efficient than paging.”

A group of physicians and administrative leaders spent months looking for a flexible solution to this communication problem. After reviewing several vendors for the job, the team chose SPOK, a mobile paging system that is HIPAA compliant to allow for fast, secure messaging and closed-loop communication.

“The reason we have on-call providers is to deliver the right care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” said Matt Girotto, vice president in the Department of Surgery. “This new system not only improves the way we talk to each other, it also improves our safety by ensuring a timely response for all of our patients’ needs.”

The new paging system allows select users to upload an on-call schedule, while allowing those on the schedule to go in and make changes as their on-call schedules change. The changes are made immediately and can be viewed across the system. The program allows you to search for the on-call provider in each specific unit, making communication with the right person for a case fast and easy.

“This new system brings much better communication among providers and even allows confidential texting about personal health information,” Shook said. “Bringing this into the clinical arena is a huge step forward for the organization and for our patients.”

The system also includes a personal device component that allows users to download a mobile app for communicating about patients. This allows provider-to-provider texts that are safe and secure. The app shows when a provider has received and read a message and even has a feature to automatically escalate a problem if the page is not viewed or answered.

“The vision is for our patients to receive the right care at the right time,” Shook said. “Excellent communication among providers only positively impact the care we are able to provide.”

This new scheduling system is officially live on Sunday, November 1. To download the mobile app and sign up for the new system, contact your leader.