Hands up who feels a good deal of nostalgia for the old tech?
You know the ones — the Blackberry that first connected us, as if by magic, to the internet while cruising the commute home on the train; the first car phone that took four tins of spinach just to lift and, incredibly, was not illegal to use; and of course, the trusty pager.
People in the 90s simply could not be informed of a wife in labour, nor could a consultant be located for urgent open-heart surgery without frantically searching a pocket to respond to the critical beep of information arriving by way of S I N G L E L I N E T E X T (which couldn’t be replied to).
Haven’t times changed?
Or have they?
When news broke that the NHS will be ditching their 130,000 outdated pagers by 2021 I think most of us were simply agog they still existed.
Citing their ‘speed and reliability’, some health professionals claim to be sad to see the back of the trusty pager. What could possibly replace an object sitting in their pocket with the ability to respond to the most instant of messages?
Pagers are fabulous for single-direction communications, but what happens when your heart surgeon is stuck in traffic? It’s then up to our surgeon to find means to reply. The onus — and stress — is then the employees.
Forget, even, the need to locate our surgeon. What if you have a department-wide communication to go out? A new procedure they need to be made aware of? NHS teams are often siloed and there is rarely complete oversight.
In this case best practise and good ideas often aren’t shared or seen by other teams. Staff can’t be expected to take laptops everywhere (often in the community), checking in whenever they have internet access.
This lack of time that employees have to keep constant track of whether or not their employer wishes to make contact is key to why OurPeople works so well in the NHS.
So whereas historically there has been a scattergun approach from health service senior management with no ability to track comms and updates, OurPeople helps senior and department management send regular updates to relevant staff rather than blanket comms across thousands of people, which are of no relevance to most.
It enables fast, efficient communication to people on-site or out in the community, with the ability to track who has received messages and responses.
The improved communication has an impact on not only freeing up time on a daily basis, but also leads to staff feeling less pressured, better informed and more appreciated.
Our heart surgeon is no longer frantically trying to find the nearest free wifi hotspot. She can reply as soon as it’s safe for her to check her phone and know her reply has been received and acted on. Peace of mind. Less anxiety. Happier staff. A more efficient service.
Stick your pagers in the time capsule — we’ll look back and laugh that we ever had to rely on them at all.