Pagers Haven’t Died Away, Ask Your Doctor


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“Doctor SmartPhone is unable to take your call right now, but Doctor Pager is available.”  Medical personnel, do in fact, still rely heavily on pagers, according to  It would seem that with advancing technology, the pager would have gone the way of the VHS tape, but this is not the case.

The same safeguards that keep X-rays in their place are also effective at blocking cell phone signals. Heavy duty hospital construction can create cell phone dead zones that make it difficult or impossible to communicate within a medical facility. Investing in an on-site booster system can strengthen the cell signal, and can also be expensive.

Pagers receive high-frequency radio signals much like FM radio transmissions. Relying on multiple satellites, increases the chance that a page will reach its destination. A cell phone routes the signal to the nearest tower, which can be a problem if the tower is either not operational, or overloaded at that moment, reported

In an emergency, a pager is not going to suffer from a surge in local cell traffic. A simple page can also be sent more reliably to multiple recipients than a standard text message, says internist Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider.

The brevity of a pager message can be both a plus and a minus. Pagers, “send only numeric messages or basic text messages,'” says pediatrician Dr. Jarret Patton. “This way no confidential information can get in the wrong hands, as could happen with a cell phone.”  

In the plus column, the week long battery charge life of a pager. A negative, “One-way pager communications are frustrating because much of the time we receive text page messages that require a simple answer but we then have to stop what we’re doing … to call them back,” Dr. Ungerleider explains.  Comments? Email Us.

March 8, 2019

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