CellTrust takes pager replacement to the wrist with Samsung devices

By Jonah Comstock
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samsung-phone1Despite how long the smartphone has been around, it still hasn't completely replaced the pager in healthcare. Now the smartwatch is getting its chance to try to knock out the beeper. Longtime secure healthcare messaging vendor CellTrust is offering a new pager replacement software that can run at least partially on Samsung's smartwatch offering, Galaxy Gear. CellTrust's app-based solution, called Pulse, will also be included in Samsung's enterprise hardware package for hospitals.

"The Samsung CellTrust partnership allows for a very close integration between the PULSE app and Samsung devices to deliver a seamless secure messenger and two-way pager," Sean Moshir, Chairman and CEO of CellTrust, said in a statement. "By taking advantage of certain Samsung special features, as well as the Samsung Galaxy Gear integration, together we open up a new dimension in secure hands free communication."

In the Pulse system, doctors and nurses will use Samsung smartphones that are partitioned, so the devices can be used for both personal and work functions. When the hospital's web-based platform messages a doctor, the secure, HIPAA-compliant message will be stored separately from personal messages.

The alert for an urgent message also overrides settings like silent mode, to make sure the provider gets the message. Messages are sent via a secure server and are also sent in three different ways for reliability: via data, WiFi, and SMS. The messaging is fastwr and more reliable then regular commercial text messaging: it takes 10 seconds and the sending party receives confirmation that the message was received.

What makes it different from other secure hospital texting offerings, however, is the range of Samsung devices that fit into the system. With the Galaxy Gear, the doctor can respond to a message verbally and request additional information about a patient, all hands free. This allows a doctor or surgeon, for instance, to safely correspond with their care team while driving to the hospital. In the hospital, care team members can run Pulse on rugged Samsung devices like the Galaxy Rugby Pro and the Galaxy S4 Active, which are easier to sterilize and more durable.

Smartphones are only slowly replacing the pager in healthcare. A combination of factors contributes to this: many hospital CTOs find pagers more reliable than cellphones in a large hospital complex, and a switch to smartphones has to be done carefully to maintain privacy and security of patient information.

MobiHealthNews wrote about the consumer health and fitness applications of the Galaxy Gear when it was announced last fall, but this is the first time we've seen it used in a clinical context.