A new secure smartphone app may replace the iconic doctor pager

It was an idea born out of necessity; a smart-phone app that allows healthcare providers to message each other about patient care in a secure and confidential way. PageMe is a first-of-its-kind app, developed in partnership with a researcher at Western University.

Dr. Brian Rotenberg, associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry is one of the driving forces behind PageMe. As a physician, Rotenberg sees how smartphones can provide a convenient way for physicians to consult with one another on patients, keep in contact with their residents and students, and share useful information with colleagues. The issue he identified is traditional smartphone chat and messaging apps don’t comply with privacy legislation and the iconic pager is technology that will likely become obsolete.

Rotenberg saw the need for a technology that allows doctors and health professionals to share information while maintaining compliance with Ontario’s Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA).  Rotenberg joined forces with partners, Francis Yanga and Andre Ross, to form a company called Citruvio Communications Inc., in order to find technological solutions to address these privacy issues. PageMe is Citruvio’s first product to launch to the public.

“We realized there was a disparity between what physicians want to do, which is text about patient care, and what PHIPA regulations say, which is that texting is not a secure way of doing things,” said Rotenberg. “Francis and I realized that there must be a modern solution, and that’s where PageMe comes in.”

PageMe has several layers of security, including encrypted transmission of messages to a secure server, password protection, and a self-destruct feature that deletes and erases messages from the device and the server after a 12-hour time period. The app displays a warning sign when users attempt to take a screenshot and doesn’t save photos or videos to the phone’s camera roll. Only those who have been accepted into an individual’s network can send and receive messages.

“The difference between PageMe and other texting apps is that we’ve implemented layers of security,” said Yanga. “We went through several case scenarios that we thought may cause a breach, and developed ways to address them.”

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“We think this app will be used by tens of thousands of doctors and medical trainees across Canada,” said Rotenberg. “We can also see its application for nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists and others who routinely share information about patients and their care.”


Learn more at: https://www.myhealthcarepager.com


MEDIA CONTACT: Crystal Mackay, Media Relations Officer, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, t. 519.661.2111 ext. 80387, c. 519.933.5944, crystal.mackay@schulich.uwo.ca @CrystalMackay

Western University delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community.


The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University is one of Canada’s preeminent medical and dental schools. Established in 1881, it was one of the founding schools of Western University and is known for being the birthplace of family medicine in Canada. For more than 130 years, the School has demonstrated a commitment to academic excellence and a passion for scientific discovery.

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