Messaging app could signal reduced pager use by providers

The days of old school pagers could be numbered, thanks to a new app from Waltham, Mass.-based Onset Technology.

The app, OnPage, provides the same urgent messaging function of a pager, but delivers those messages through clinicians' smartphones, company officials say. OnPage's main product is a web-hosted, two-way paging service, but users won't have to access the full system to use the smartphone-paging option, officials tell the Boston Business Journal. Instead, they can download the app directly to their smartphones and access messages there.

Users can prioritize pager messages above email, texts, phone calls or voice mail communications, as they deems appropriate.

"Up until this point, our physicians have used a traditional pager to help them keep priority messages distinct from other, less urgent communications, Adam Marks, business and technical operations director of fertility clinic RSC New England said in a statement. "Unfortunately, with a one-way communication system, reliability and responsiveness have always been a concern."

The other big value of the new app: It allows doctors to get rid of pagers altogether, Onset CEO Judith Sharon said.

"OnPage is designed specifically to solve these critical priority messaging issues by transforming a user's smartphone into a single device for all communications needs," Sharon said in a statement. The service currently is available for the iPhone, iPad and Blackberry.

It'll be interesting to see if mobile connectivity can truly reinvent paging as a viable communications protocol in healthcare, or if it's just extending the expiration date on a dying technology. 

To learn more:
- check out the Boston Business Journal article
- get more detail from 148apps' coverage
- dig into the OnPage press release