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Seven Big Problems With Using Pagers in Healthcare

Using Pagers in Healthcare

Pagers present a huge problem for healthcare. But, it’s not only us who feel that way. Many leading healthcare institutions have come to us to complain about missing pages, inefficient internal communications were. and lack of encryption. Here are a few pager related findings that illustrate the problem:

  • Pagers cost over $1.7 M per year in lost productivity1
  • Many users prefer smart device platform over pagers 2
  • Pagers lack encryption2
  • Pagers are increasingly run on an aging infrastructure that is not being updated
Source 1 – Emory University study on pagers
Source 2 – Ponemon Institute on Economic Impact of Inefficient Communications in Healthcare

Pagers are not secure

Pagers rarely use encryption, leaving messages sent over the airways unprotected. Using software-defined radio (SDR) and an inexpensive USB dongle, unencrypted messages can easily be decoded.

A recent study did an analysis of the distribution of data types sent via pagers. The results are mapped out in the pie chart below.graph 1The study which spanned 4 months monitored 54,976,553 records of pages. They found out that 18,368,210 (33%) are alphanumeric and only 10% of the data was actually secured. This data distribution tells us that a lot of information can be gained from pagers which can be collected over time by hackers who specialize in collecting passive intelligence.

Inconsistent with demand

• Many users prefer to consolidate messages (emails, text messages, pages, etc) on one device
• Many users prefer smart device platforms over pagers
• A recent survey at Emory (graph 3: pictured below) showed that approximately 70% of users prefer pages on a cell phone / smart device, while only approximately 15% preferred pagers (remaining 15% chose other options).

graph 3

GRAPH 3: Study participant presences 

White PaperUsing Pagers in Healthcare

Pagers are neither in vogue nor secure. We have detailed the various issues concerning pagers in our latest White Paper: Seven Big Problems With Using Pagers in Healthcare.

To learn more click here.