Effective and timely communication among caregivers is one of the 2016 Hospital National Patient Safety Goals set forth by the Joint Commission. The pager messaging system remains predominant in the U.S health care system, but is this one-way pager device falling out of favor over smart phones in the health care setting?

There is a general sense of dissatisfaction among pager users. Alphanumeric paging is a one-way tool that is not conducive to patient centered care. The inability to provide secure and meaningful real time specific patient information is disruptive to work flow.

Purpose: To describe the implementation of the smartphone communication project in the hospital setting, user perceptions and satisfaction and lessons learned from this initiative

Description:   The University of Miami Hospital is a 560-bed multi-specialty, acute care hospital and flagship academic facility of the University of Miami Health System.  Beginning March 28, 2016, the Division of Hospital Medicine introduced and adopted the HIPAA approved iPhone 6 devices as the primary means of communication for patientcare involving resident and non-resident ward teams, consult and nocturnist services.  In conjunction, the internet based platform, AMION, was used to access the contact information and schedule of the medical teams and physicians.

Eight months post-implementation, nurses, pharmacists, unit secretaries and physicians were surveyed for their perception and satisfaction with the smartphone as the primary tool for patient related communication.  There were 33 physician respondents and 73 non-physician respondents.  

Table 1 depicts the survey summary and demographic information of respondents. Table 2 shows the salient points for lessons learned from this project.  No device malfunction nor adverse events compromising patient safety were reported.  Eighty-one percent (81%) of physicians recommend using smartphones at other residency training sites.


Among the nurses, pharmacists and other non-physician staff surveyed, smartphones were viewed as a superior communication tool providing ease in reaching the physicians, and gave the perception of facilitating more timely patient care.

Physicians recognized the smartphone as an effective, minimally disruptive communication tool that provides nursing staff with greater access to physicians. Majority of physicians recommend using smartphones as a primary tool of communication at other residency training sites within the program.

All respondents perceived that the smartphones keep patient information secure about the same as that of pagers.