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UK’s Bolton Hospital is Replacing its Pagers With mHealth Devices

The hospital is trading in its pagers for an mHealth device that enables clinicians to communicate securely with each other, access a patient's health status and receive alerts when that status changes.

Source: ThinkStock

By Eric Wicklund

- A UK hospital is replacing pagers with an mHealth device that allows doctors and nurses to communicate with each other and check on each patient’s health status.

Royal Bolton Hospital, part of the National Health Service’s Bolton Foundation Trust, is handing out more than 300 Myco devices to clinicians in its pediatric, maternity and critical care wards. Roughly 30 of the connected care devices are now being used by on-call doctors and nighttime nurse practitioners to keep tabs on patients in the hospital’s medical, surgical and orthopedics wards.

The Myco devices, developed by Swiss digital health company Ascom, will integrate with the hospital’s Patientrack remote monitoring platform, giving clinicians access to each patient’s status and alerts when that status changes. They use different sounds to stratify incoming messages and alerts and color-code patient status.

Hospital officials hope to replace all pagers (called “bleeps” in the UK) in the health system with mHealth devices, saying the devices are better for care management and coordination.

“Unlike a bleep, the Myco enables clinicians to call each other, message securely, and interact with escalations from Patientrack,” Simon Irving, the Trust’s Chief Clinical Information Officer, told the UK’s Digital Health news service. “The devices will also have apps containing trust clinical guidelines and an evidence-based medicines portal, to ensure consistent, safe care.”

“The devices will save doctors, critical care nurses and charge nurses a great deal of time that they currently spend trying to reach each other on the phone to assess cases,” he added. “A full audit trail from the devices will also enable us to track peaks of activity and better utilize our workforce, as well as measuring performance.”

Though some administrators have argued that there is a place for pagers in hospitals, many health systems are trading them in for mobile devices, smartphones or mHealth communications platforms that serve a number of uses.

Roughly one year ago, a survey of 50 CIOs of the top US health systems found that three-quarters now have an mHealth-based communications strategy in place. According to that survey, those executives are now moving beyond messaging and looking for technology that integrates with electronic health record and patient monitoring platforms.

At Bolton Hospital, the Myco implementation is one phase of an enterprise-wide communications strategy that includes a “shared care record” with community services, virtual desktops and an Allscripts EHR platform that’s due to go live in 2019.


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