Beep or alert: Evaluating whatsapp vs pagers for communication between hospital staff

Muhammad W.S. Baqai, Ummey Hani, Noman Shahzad, Rehman Alvi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Aims A timely and effective communication system between hospital staff is vital for teamwork, patient safety and optimal clinical outcomes. This study compared staff perceptions of WhatsApp compared to traditional pagers for clinical communication in one of the largest tertiary care hospitals in Pakistan. Methods A questionnaire regarding factors such as the ease of use and reliability of each communication modality was distributed to interns and residents at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi, Pakistan. Descriptive statistics were computed for percentages, frequencies and statistical significance of categorical variables. Results A total of 163 participants completed the survey. Of these, 95.1% preferred WhatsApp for storing information for later reference, 58.6% considered WhatsApp to be faster in terms of response, and 52.1% found WhatsApp easier to use than pagers. However, 60.7% chose pagers as better suited for emergency situations and 92.6% were concerned that WhatsApp could potentially compromise patient data security. Overall, participants preferred the development of a bespoke app for hospital communications instead. Conclusions WhatsApp was regarded as easier to use and more accessible than pagers, but it was not deemed to be compliant with hospital policies. Productive communication could be optimised with the use of a tailor-made app dedicated solely to clinical communication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-38
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Health Care Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2021


  • Clinical communication
  • Pagers
  • Telemedicine
  • Whatsapp


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