HOMEPAGE News from Swissphone News Renewing Paging Systems across the NHS
These systems, spread across five NHS Trusts, underline the role that On-Site Paging and Alerting continues to play in the vast majority of NHS Trusts in the United Kingdom. Graeme Hull, Head of International Sales at Swissphone commented: “Recent press reports have indicated that the NHS has been directed to move away from paging in the coming years. The award of these contracts from some of the biggest and most prestigious Healthcare providers in the world, demonstrate that the staff on the ground, who actually have the responsibility of providing emergency alerting solutions for NHS Staff, understand that paging is still the most efficient and cost-effective way of delivering messages in life-critical situations.”
Unanimous consensus among the industry leaders
It is the belief of Swissphone and many other industry experts, such as the Critical Messaging Association of Europe (CMA-E) that there is a significant amount of misinformation regarding some of the alternatives to paging currently being promoted. Real issues, such as device usability, network coverage, guaranteed bandwidth availability and overall lifetime costs do not appear to have been thoroughly tested. Pagers provided by Swissphone are designed to give optimum radio performance, meaning coverage of any site can be guaranteed and are robust, being drop tested from 2 meters and waterproof to the IP 67 Standard – something that few smartphones can offer.
Alister Cresswell, Project Manager at the Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust noted: “Due to the nature of our clinical work at Papworth, the ability to send medical emergency messages to a team, wherever they are in the new hospital is critical. We looked at other technical options and concluded that paging gives us the best balance of speed, accuracy and cost-effectiveness and the Swissphone solution meets these needs perfectly.”
One common misconception being promoted is that pagers are simple, single function devices. Harald Pfurtscheller, Chief Technology Officer of Swissphone notes: “It is simply incorrect to state that pagers can only perform one task. Our devices can receive both speech and data messages, and store both types of message within the device for later review. In addition, they can alert the user with unique tones, vibration, colour coded LEDs or a combination of these. Our systems can integrate to clinical monitoring to provide real-time updates on patient information and fully integrate to the hospital telephone and IT-systems to allow messages to be generated from internal extensions and PC-workstations. In addition, some of our devices allow a user to acknowledge receipt of an emergency message and to inform the operator that they are responding to the call. On the system side, we provide dedicated operator terminals that allow medical emergency calls to be dispatched securely and with priority over other calls. This means that in an emergency, we can get a call to response team members in seconds, wherever they are in the hospital.”
Less repair costs, more site coverage
One final, and most important consideration is whole-life cost of any solution. Over many years, paging has proven itself as reliable and highly cost-effective in a healthcare environment. Angelo Saccoccia, CEO of Swissphone: “At Swissphone, we understand that new technology can bring benefits which is why we continually invest in enhancing existing solutions and developing new ones. However, our customers in the NHS realise that a substitution with new technology is not always appropriate, particularly in demanding environments such as NHS wards and clinical areas. Devices need to work for 7 years or more, which is a challenge when they get dropped and can be easily damaged. Therefore, many customers choose Swissphone pagers, with their robust construction and water-proof certification. This reduces repair costs and in conjunction with the relatively low cost of providing 100% site coverage, makes our healthcare solutions an effective and economical way of addressing critical messaging requirements.”