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NHS on Its Final Leg of Pager Replacement

Pager Replacement

If you’ve been following the U.K. healthcare landscape, you would know that the country has been considering replacing pagers for the longest time. This may soon materialize, partly accelerated by the challenges that doctors are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pager replacement initiative not only signifies a pivotal shift from the aging infrastructure, but it also indicates how pagers have failed to thrive in today’s unprecedented times. 

In this blog, we’ll discuss the U.K.’s move to pager replacement solutions, and how pager replacement tools would impact the continuum of patient care in the country. 

One Step Closer: NHSX Publishes £3M Tender to Phase Out Pagers

NHSX, the digital arm for the National Health Service (NHS), has taken the next step in propagating rock-solid care team communication tools across U.K. hospitals. It has published a £3 million tender to replace the antiquated and inefficient pager system. The tender was seeking competent vendors to solve critical pain points of healthcare delivery teams, including but not limited to:

  • Improving clinical messaging and image sharing security
  • Enhancing clinical team communication and collaboration
  • Adopting a tool that centralizes and syncs with the NHS contact directory

The move comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock, announced new policies requiring the NHS trust to update their pagers by the end of September 2020. Per reports, the tender closed on July 6th, 2020 and the contract is due to operationalize by the end of July through 2022, with a potential extension of 12 months. 

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Following in Japan’s Footsteps

The U.K. isn’t alone in realizing the shortcomings of the pager. Though countries like Canada and the U.S. have been clinging onto this archaic technology, Japan heard the pager’s last beep in 2019. Japan, the high-tech hub for progress and innovation, was quick to realize that pagers were unreliable, insecure and promoted fragmented communications.

Japan was proactive in adopting best communication practices in its healthcare facilities, augmented by solutions that were secure, advanced and capable of integrating with electronic health records (EHRs). Japan’s last pager provider ended its services in 2019, making pager replacement solutions a requirement for the nation’s hospitals.

Adopting Secure and Effective Solutions

For the NHS, the move to discontinue pagers and adopt secure communication tools will result in the democratization of patient information. Simply put, care teams will now have data readily available on their fingertips to deliver accelerated and safe patient care.

Pager replacement solutions provide capabilities that make it easy to ditch pagers. For instance, OnPage’s pager alternative and clinical communications system, enables healthcare facilities to benefit from:

  • A sign-in process to grant access only to authorized care team members
  • Real-time incident statuses for more transparent care team collaboration
  • Persistent alerts that override the silent switch on all iOS and Android devices
  • Two-way messaging with secure file sharing
  • On-call schedules to create “turns” and reduce physician fatigue 
  • Live patient-to-physician communications with dedicated lines
  • Extended cellular and Wi-Fi coverage, ensuring that pages are always received regardless of physical location

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Pager replacement apps streamline team collaboration and ensure that every message is delivered with 100 percent certainty. They eliminate the page and phone tag cycle, allowing physicians to provide immediate care during life-and-death situations.

Virtually every industry has been reshaped by technology innovation. This includes healthcare and the new technologies used to streamline clinical workflows. As healthcare continues to evolve, countries must evolve with the industry as well. This translates to investing in 21st century systems to achieve 21st century patient care. 

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