Posts Tagged cellphones

Ban That Ringtone!

Like many Emergency Departments, we have a batphone. New York City EMS will (usually!) give us a ringdown when there’s a critically ill or trauma patient en route, with a few mixed in “Ooops, wrong number” calls. Ever since I started residency my ears quickly perked up at the sound of the tone, even before the overhead page “GREEN TEAM TO THE TRAUMA ROOM ETA TWO MINUTES” screams through the department. I know pretty immediately that I need to wrap up whatever I’m doing, if possible. I’m Mr. Airway.

And that, my friends, is why this evil, evil ringtone needs to go:
[wpaudio url=”http://thecentralline.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/oldphone.mp3″]

Yes, mostly iPhone users are to blame (even some of my beloved attendings use it as their ringtone), but really, it’s got to stop. A female friend once said that “All men are dogs;” I think if she was referring to the Pavlovian type, she’s probably right. Stimulus, response.

RINGRINGRINGRINGRIIIING! In a coffee shop: Ohmygodwhere’sthe–oh, wait, nevermind.
RINGRINGRINGRINGRIIIING! In an airport terminal with an old style phone: Calm, calm, you’re not at the hospital.

So please, PLEASE, people who are in an Emergency Department (who okay, probably, technically, shouldn’t even be using their cellphones to begin with): get a new ringtone. My peptic ulcer will thank you.

(One of my favorite sites, audiko.net, has a ton of song ringtones for free download, or you can even create your own by uploading your favorite song!)

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Beepers: Buh-Bye

image courtesy flickr's elainegreycats

image courtesy flickr's elainegreycats

One of my favorite emergency physician bloggers, Ten out of Ten, wrote a great piece last week about loathing the beeper, and I can only sing the same tune.

It absolutely blows my mind how much time I can spend trying to page a private medical doctor or consultant.

  1. Call the private’s office.
  2. Try hitting 0, but this only works 30% of the time, and sometimes it’s a random button like “8” to reach the operating service.
  3. Speak with operating service, repeating my name, hospital, phone number, patient’s name, and date of birth three times over, slooowwwly.
  4. Private eventually responds, tell quick story, find out private wants to use the hospitalist or resident service.
  5. Call the hospitalist.
  6. 2-3 pages later, right in the middle of a discussion with another patient, hospitalist responds, or resident service responds, but they’re capped, or I’ve been paging the wrong number, finally sign patient out.
  7. As Ten out of Ten suggests, please for the love of all that is good and efficient, let’s use cellphones. Why are we still carrying around 1980s drug dealer-style boxes when we already have a fancy-schmancy voice and text-capable device with us at all times anyway? (Okay fine, let’s do a big study and confirm, once and for all, that cellphones don’t do anything to medical equipment, and then do away with beepers.)

    And why not use some sort of software/web solution like Google Voice to do all the work? Call one phone number, and it automatically forwards to the on-call cellphone. If the call is not answered, you leave a voicemail, and a text message is sent to the phone every 10 minutes until someone responds. That way you have the convenience of a pager (call back when you’re available) along with the direct-connection of a cellphone. And the call schedule is automatically fed into the system so it autoforwards without anyone intervening; if something gets goofed up, you just login to the website, click a button, and re-route the calls to someone else.

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