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Thursday, July 19th 2012

I Love My Pager

As long as I’m a resident and I’m not serviced by a call center I will love my pager. I say this despite my love of all things tech.

And apparently I’m becoming slightly anachronistic.

Doctors don’t want to carry a pager anymore. They want to carry their iPhone or their Android device.

The quote above comes from Brian Edds, for Ancome Software, in an NPR story titled ‘Are Pagers Obsolete?’. So many I’m out in the minority, but I want my pager. I’ll be brutally honest about why but I don’t want people to be able to reach me on a whim. At least not while I’m a resident. I’ve written before about the abuse of communication with resident physicians. About how matters are triaged ineffectively at academic centers, partly I suspect, because it seems as less of a faux pas to call a resident, as say, a ‘real’ doctor out in the private world.

As such, I don’t want my phone ringing while on call. I return my pages timely but I want that barrier wherein I have to return the call. That barrier where I can triage the calls myself. A text page about a missing home medication can wait until I’m done with a procedure, a page from the ER may need more immediate scrutiny. A phone call takes away some of that discretion. And until the amount of frivolity goes down, until I’m out in the world practicing and deciding the systems in which I’ll practice, I want my pager.