Doctors get smart
Hospital staff are saving up to 15 minutes an hour since a slick smartphone app has replaced outdated pagers.
Smartpage is now being used across 13 wards at North Shore Hospital following a successful pilot in January this year.
The Android and web based technology allows instant two-way messaging between doctors and nurses using the 3G or WiFi network.
Nurses work from a web browser on the ward floor to communicate with doctors logging in on their hospital allocated smartphones.
The app provides instant access to patient details, including vital signs, test results and their physical status, as well as an up to date message feed showing all correspondence between clinicians.
Even photos of patients, electrocardiograms or wounds can be sent via the secure platform.
Staff can also view each other's physical location and work load.
Founder of OnCall Health Aidan Gill, 26, has spent the past three years developing the app after graduating from the University of Auckland medical school.
It was while working on the wards himself, Dr Gill says he realised the need to upgrade the archaic paging system.
"The pager is creating some of the worst issues in terms of time wastage and patient safety," he says.
Time delays often mean patients are seen much later than they should be at which stage their condition could be much worse.
Pager messages can take up to three minutes to go through and even then there is no way of telling if the doctor has received it, Dr Gill says.
"You can only include 100 characters on a pager. Nurses go through and systematically remove vowels to make the message fit. This makes it hard to understand and there's no way to show how urgent it is."
Smartpage has a "read receipt" feature and automatically codes a patient with an "early warning score" depending on how serious their condition is.
The security of patient information shared on the platform is not an issue, he says.
"Everything is encrypted and accessible only from within the hospital or on phones allocated to doctors. After a few minutes it locks out and requires a password and username to log back in."
The system also records details of what information has been accessed by who, he says.
Interest in Smartpage is growing both nationally and internationally.
North Shore Times