When WakeMed Health & Hospitals needed to upgrade its aging communication system, a tech-savvy group of IT and nursing leaders took the long view. The 919-bed health system in Raleigh, North Carolina, wasn’t going to replace 1,000 legacy phones with a quick-fix texting solution. Instead, they outlined their requirements and searched for a complete communication platform that would meet their needs well into the future, such as:
- An easy-to-read smartphone touchscreen.
- Long battery life to last through a full shift.
- Ability to see at a glance which providers are in the building and available.
- Capable of handling voice calls, texting, and integration with the alarm management system.
Most importantly, the WakeMed team needed a partner to join them on a long-term, successful smartphone journey. They decided on a communication solution from Voalte, which met all of their criteria and allowed them to integrate with the Epic EMR. (See the case study.)
Starting in the fall of 2013, WakeMed deployed 100 Apple iPhones™ running Voalte One™ at Cary Hospital, the smaller of the health system’s facilities. Only after thorough troubleshooting and smoothing out new workflows did they expand the new solution to the larger, flagship hospital in Raleigh. When voice calls and text messaging were fully embraced by caregivers, WakeMed and Voalte worked together to integrate alert notifications from the Rauland Responder® nurse call system and patient monitoring, starting in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and then rolling out unit by unit.
Today, WakeMed is using more than 550 Voalte smartphones, including iPhones and Android-based Zebra MC40-HCs, with about 2,500 caregivers and staff communicating via Voalte solutions. Looking to the future, WakeMed is bringing physicians into the loop with Voalte Me™ for seamless communication inside and outside the hospital. Another initiative involves integrating barcode scanning to tie in with Epic Rover for secure access to the electronic medical record.
This successful partnership between WakeMed and Voalte was possible due to strong support from the health systems’ executive, IT and clinical leaders, including:
- Denton Arledge, VP of Information Services
- Georgia Harrington, VP of Operations
- Angela Newman, Nursing Director, Women’s Pavilion & Birthplace
- Fred Stancil, Manager of Telecommunications
These leaders and others realized early on that migrating to smartphones for healthcare communication is a journey, not a quick trip. When you’re considering replacing legacy phones, be wary of the numerous companies touting secure text messaging solutions. Ask yourself: Do these vendors have the expertise to partner with you for the long term?
Matt Peterson is Eastern Regional Sales Director at Voalte.