寻呼机在1994年达到顶峰，当时寻呼机的保有量达到了6,100万部。据格鲁娅称，这个数字随后缩减到今天的五、六百万部。这是他根据自身经验做出的估计。Frost & Sullivan公司已于2006年正式停止追踪寻呼机市场，因为这个市场已经变得无关紧要。
Pagers seemed like a fabulous invention in the years before mobile phones. To reach someone, all you had to do was call their number, enter your contact information, and hit the pound sign to send. The pager's owner, alerted by a symphony of beeping, would then return the call. Mobile phones, of course, eventually drove the technology to near-extinction.
But pagers, in fact, continue to thrive with one critical constituency: the medical industry. Yes, many doctors and nurses still carry pagers instead of -- or in addition to -- smartphones. It is an odd reality for a field that otherwise prides itself on using cutting-edge medicine and sophisticated machinery to save lives. For communication, at least, many people in the medical field are stuck in the 1990s.
The reasons are many. "Doctors are creatures of habit," says Ronald Gruia, an analyst with Frost & Sullivan. But he also argues that many hospitals hang onto the outdated technology to save money. Equipping staff with smartphones and installing technology to guarantee cell phone service inside cavernous medical buildings is expensive.
Pagers reached their zenith in 1994 when there were over 61 million in use. Their numbers have since dwindled to around five or six million today, according to Gruia. His estimate is an educated guess. Officially, Frost & Sullivan stopped tracking the pager market in 2006 because of, well, its irrelevance.
Despite their obsolescence, pagers do have some advantages. They're small and light enough to carry in a pocket or on a belt. They also don't need to be charged. Instead, you just pop in new batteries. Convenience is a relative term, however. Pagers have no address book, for example. They also lack a way to easily identify those who page you unless the sender includes a name in the message. And nobody is working to improve them.
Such inefficiency comes at a price. Pagers and other outdated communications systems cost hospitals $8.3 billion annually in lost productivity and increased patient discharge times, according to a recent survey by the Ponemon Institute, a technology research organization. The survey, based on responses from 577 healthcare professionals, found that doctors, nurses, and others in the health care field waste around 45 minutes daily because of inefficient communications systems.
Additionally, hospitals take longer to discharge patients -- 101 minutes, on average -- than otherwise necessary, the survey found. By using secure text messaging, hospitals could cut that time by half, most of the respondents said.
Granted, the survey, like many of its kind, should be taken with a grain of salt. The financial losses are extrapolated from a relatively small sample of respondents. Furthermore, the survey was paid for by Imprivata, a company that provides hospitals with software for accessing patient files from both computers and mobile devices. There's an obvious incentive to make the problem seem bigger than it really is to drum up business.