Zipit Platform Replaces Older Paging Technology
iOS, Android App From Verizon, Zipit Enables Secure Messaging in Health Care
Verizon Enterprise Solutions and Zipit Wireless are looking to keep old-school paging in the past.
Zipit, a provider of wireless connectivity for mobile devices, has introduced an application called Zipit Confirm that lets doctors and clinicians connect using secure messaging. The app includes the ability to make voice over IP (VOIP) calls, a feature not present in its original platform, called Enterprise Critical Messaging Solution, announced at the 2011 Healthcare Information and Management Systems (HIMSS) conference.
The platform now combines cloud-based connectivity through its Remote Administration Portal with the Zipit Now wireless handheld and Zipit Confirm smartphone app for Android and Apple iOS.
Along with the new app, Verizon will provide VOIP connectivity for the existing Zipit Now mobile handheld.
"It's a really robust way to provide critical messaging, whether it's in health care or one of these other verticals," Jeff Pierson, product manager for vertical solutions at Verizon Enterprise Solutions, told eWEEK.
Verizon and Zipit announced the new Zipit Confirm app and VOIP upgrade for the Zipit Now handheld on July 12.
Zipit's platform delivers critical messages within 10 seconds, according to the company.
Features of both the app and the Zipit wireless device include multiple priority level pages, continuous alerts similar to a pager and secure two-way communications with users of the Zipit mobile app and other devices.
The mobile app allows users to send Short Message Service (SMS) texts though a dedicated ZText number and logs interactions in the Zipit cloud platform.
With the addition of VOIP, Zipit Now becomes a unified communications platform that can handle paging, secure chat, SMS and voice. Clinicians can also make calls over managed WiFi. Zipit VOIP works with enterprise PBX and cloud-based PBX with Session Initiation Protocol (SIP).
Having the messaging features available only on a Zipit device limited the appeal for doctors to use the messaging service because they didn't want to carry more than one device, according to Michael Vitale, vice president of sales for Zipit.
"By now, having the ability to leverage their existing smartphones and not have to carry a pager anymore, plus have many more features and accountability, they're absolutely ready to adopt the technology," Vitale told eWEEK. "Before, if the doctors didn't have a smartphone application, they wouldn't promote the app internally."
In addition to health care, Zipit's messaging platform has been adopted in education, manufacturing and hospitality, Vitale noted.
Providing a separate Zipit device to everyone in a hospital's transport group was too expensive, according to Vitale. With the new app for iOS and Android, hospital workers can use their own handhelds, furthering growth in the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend in the workplace.
Zipit Platform Replaces Older Paging Technology
In a recent survey by networking company Aruba Networks, 85 percent of hospital IT departments allowed doctors and staff to use their personal devices on the job.
Whether hospital workers are using Zipit Confirm on a smartphone or on the Zipit Now handheld, the platform is interoperable, said Vitale.
Of the approximately 4.1 million pagers being used today, 2.4 million (or 58 percent) are in health care, said Vitale.
By offering the Zipit Confirm app, Zipit is replacing older pager technology with new messaging capabilities, Vitale noted. With the delays that were typical of older pager technology, it was "page and pray," he said.
Unlike with traditional pagers, the Zipit platform sends a confirmation when a message is sent, said Vitale. Zipit also generates reports of past transmissions.
"It can pull a report of what a doctor said to a nurse six months ago," said Vitale.
The Zipit messaging service complies with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements by keeping messages in the system unless patients request that they be deleted, said Vitale.
"That information cannot be altered or destroyed, so it's there for the customer," he said. "If they need it a year from now, two days ago, they can pull the report."
Designed to help doctors respond to the life-threatening situations in health care and the speed needed in communication, the Zipit messages can be transmitted faster than with pagers, he said.
"Unlike the pager technology, our messages are being delivered in less than 10 seconds," said Vitale, "In the paging world, we've seen messages take 7 to 15 minutes."
The Zipit platform can send automated messages when a server goes down, the temperature drops in a lab or when lab results are completed. The recipient would receive the messages through Zipit's remote cloud portal, said Vitale.
"We expect rapid adoption based on the increased amount of smartphones in health care and across all verticals," said Vitale, who noted that 25 health care organizations are currently testing Zipit Confirm.
A subscription to Enterprise Critical Messaging Solution costs $10 per month, but Zipit Confirm is a free download.