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Paging study finds that the doctor is often out

Washington Post, July 7, 2009

A research letter published in the Archives of Internal Medicine looked at the results of a two-month study of more than 10,000 pages sent at two Canadian hospitals. The study found that 14% of pages sent internally never reached the intended doctor because he or she was unavailable. Close to half the pages reviewed for the study were urgent, including one related to a patient with a dangerously high glucose level requiring a prescribed medication. The study did not look at the effect of the missed messages on patient outcomes.