Replacing Pagers with the Hypercare App at Royal Victoria Hospital

No more passing around the team pager

Decrease time required to reach on-call staff

Improve accountability for responding to pages

Pager Replacement, Messaging, Scheduling

"As a surgical subspecialist, I require a quick and efficient paging system to deliver patient care. Our group had previously paid hundreds of dollars per month for an outdated paging service. We were excited to switch to Hypercare, which costs a fraction of the price, and allows for a more accurate and modern way to communicate among our team and deliver care. The transition to Hypercare was easy and the app has been more reliable and functional than our previous service. We have been very happy with this product."

- Dr. Joel Cooper
Vascular surgeon at Royal Victoria Hospital.

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Hospitals recognize the need to replace current pagers and paging systems to something more functional and modern, but most feel they have ample time to do so. However, the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) in Barrie, Ontario, was confronted with a sudden crisis at the end of 2021, when they learned that pagers were being decommissioned due to  aging infrastructure that was difficult to maintain. Given there were limited time, this would mean that this large, tertiary care hospital would be left without means of reaching their hundreds of specialists across dozens of specialties, and patient care would grind to a halt.

After experiencing a successful deployment of Hypercare with their interventional cardiology and urology departments, RVH reached out to Hypercare for strategies to rapidly transition 150 static and rotating pagers to the Hypercare platform. Working together, a plan was devised to create virtual pager numbers that would emulate their existing workflow, but also act as a bridge to a better workflow. These virtual pagers would function exactly the same as traditional pagers. Providers would still call these numbers and leave numeric call-back numbers. However instead of being sent to a physical pager, it would send the call-back number as a Hypercare secure text message to the intended user.

This situation also presented opportunities for RVH to imagine and implement improved workflows. For instance, rather than having a different pager number for every urologist on-call, the department created a single “urology on-call” pager number. Given this, Hypercare was able to consolidate these pager numbers to only 43 pager numbers. When a provider called this number and left a call back number, the message would automatically be routed to the correct on-call provider based on the call schedule inputted by the department on Hypercare. This eliminated the need for callers and switchboard operators to remember and manage multiple pager numbers, and in many instances bypass the need to call switchboard altogether. This model was implemented across multiple departments and specialties, including Critical Care, Urology, Cardiology, Nephrology, Vascular Surgery, CODE STROKE, Pharmacy On-Call, Psychiatry, Orthopaedic Surgery, ENT, Surgery, Plastics, General Surgery and NPs for Long Term Care Outreach.

Despite the time pressure imposed by the telecom company, Hypercare was able to easily transition all 150 pagers onto this new model within 30 days, completely remotely (due to the ongoing pandemic) with online training sessions and materials. This included generating 150 new pager numbers, onboarding hundreds of physicians onto the Hypercare platform, and teaching administrators all the features of the Hypercare scheduling system. As a result, there was no disruption to their communication workflows, and many physicians have transitioned beyond the traditional page-and-wait process by using the self-serve on-call locating feature and finding and connecting the desired clinician directly themselves with Hypercare’s secure messaging and file sharing system.

As more paging networks are being decommissioned by telecoms, there will be more pressures for healthcare organizations to transition away from pagers. From the experience of RVH, it may be wise for these organizations to explore how Hypercare can help with their transition sooner rather than later.

About RVH

Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre is a 392-bed acute care hospital in Barrie, Ontario. It is an affiliated teaching site for the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. It offers a wide range of inpatient and outpatient services, including a newly expanded cardiac catheterization program.

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