The pager, like the white coat, is emblematic of physicians, but it is not the most efficient way to communicate. When that annoying “beeper” on your hip emits its dreaded cry, you don’t know whether it is a Code Blue situation, an invitation to lunch next week, or a low battery alert. Text pagers (versus the traditional numbers-only system) are a step up, but still have quite limited capabilities.
Enter the OnPage app from Onset Technologies. Available for iPhone and Blackberry, this application is touted as a pager replacement. Key advantages include the ability for the sender of the page to know if the message actually went through and when the recipient read it. Additionally, the ability to reply directly to pages within the app could help keep track of things on a busy call night.
We had a chance to test this app, with mixed results. Installation was relatively straightforward, and all of the messages went through to the test iPhone, whether sent through the toll-free number or through the included e-mail address. The messages were marked as “received” and “read” within a few seconds of the event happening, just as advertised.
However, on the 5th and final test, the message went through to the app, and it showed up as “received,” but, despite the fact that the message was viewed, the status never updated to “read.” In addition, even though the message was read, every 60 seconds a message popped up to remind us to read it. This continued even after we completely closed the program. We had to uninstall the app in order to stop being reminded to read this message.
We sincerely hope that this is just a minor bug that can be fixed with the next release. The concept is sound, and we would much rather carry an iPhone alone than a pager + smartphone, but there are some kinks to work out before we would trust this tool as our primary contact for emergency situations.
Link to product page: Onpage.com