Robocalls are overwhelming hospitals and patients, threatening a new kind of health crisis
In the heart of Boston, Tufts Medical Center treats scores of health conditions, from administering measles vaccines for children to pioneering next-generation tools that can eradicate the rarest of cancers.
But doctors, administrators and other hospital staff struggled to contain a much different kind of epidemic one April morning last year: a wave of thousands of robocalls that spread, like a virus, from one phone line to the next, disrupting communications for hours to come.
For most Americans, such robocalls represent an unavoidable digital-age nuisance, resulting in constant interruptions targeting their phones each month. For hospitals, though, the spam calls amount to a literal life-or-death challenge, one that increasingly is threatening doctors and patients in a setting where every second can count.