NEW PRODUCTS: Nurse, Get Me A Telephone!

Nurse, Get Me A Telephone!

Disposable razors have long been a consumer staple, and throwaway cameras are a new photographic fad. Now the latest items to use and lose are telephones. Several companies, including Mini-Phone, Diversified Communications and International Connectors, are selling an estimated 100,000 lightweight, disposable phones a year, and the market is growing fast. The best customers are not individuals but hospitals, which sell the phones to patients as a moneymaking venture.

Health-care institutions pay a manufacturer about $9 a phone, then charge patients about $12 to use the instrument during their stay. And since many patients formerly walked off with standard-issue phones (average...