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Invited Commentary
August 2017

Pagers and Beyond in an Era of Microcommunications—What Is Old Is New Again

Author Affiliations
  • 1Computational Health Informatics Program, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Department of Biomedical Informatics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco,
JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(8):1220-1221. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.2145

The pager has had impressive staying power in medicine. The first alphanumeric pagers were introduced nearly 30 years ago, and most hospitals still use them. To many, pagers seem antiquated. Yet physicians continue to use them well into the smartphone era, not because physicians are Luddites, but rather because of many useful features. Paging systems offer long-range transmission in areas of poor cellular coverage, stable networks even under stress conditions, and easy battery replacement.

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