The 500 doctors at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) have traded in their pagers for phones. Instead of receiving messages that do not tell them who called or what the call was about, they now receive text messages containing specific information.
The switch is the first of the kind in the Southeast Asian region, Dr. Ho Choon Hou told The Straits Times.
'Hospitals are known to be laggards in technology,' Ho was quoted as saying. 'We want to play leapfrog with this move,' said the physician with the National Healthcare Group, to which TTSH belongs.
TTSH's study found that doctors spend an average of 80 minutes a day making return calls. Nurses spent between 40 and 200 minutes paging doctors daily.
Nursing officer Abdul Kahar Sulong, 42, said he used to stand by the phone waiting for a doctor to call back after paging.
'Now, it's easier for the doctors and us,' he told the newspaper. 'Also if there's an emergency, we can call the doctor directly.'
Doctors will be informed automatically when patients' laboratory test results are ready later this year.
Talks are under way with other hospitals to switch from pagers to phones.
Rules for visitors and patients using mobile phones in wards at TTSH have been relaxed. The phones can be used as long as they are more than 2 metres away from medical equipment.
TTSH is set to sign a memorandum on Tuesday with handset manufacturer Nokia and Singapore Telecommunications to 'learn how technology can apply in the health-care setting', Ho said.