iOS, Android App From Verizon, Zipit Enables Secure Messaging in Health Care

Zipit Wireless has introduced its Zipit Confirm secure-messaging app for iOS and Android that is suitable for use by physicians and health care staff. The company also upgraded its Zipit Now handheld with VOIP capabilities on Verizon's network.

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.