I’ve been in healthcare IT for 20 years, working with major industry leaders such as Siemens as well as young companies like Voalte. While I’ve been privileged to represent companies and products that have made a positive impact on the healthcare industry, I’ve never been so excited about the potential we have at Voalte to make a real difference in the lives of caregivers and their patients.
When you consider the fact that many healthcare providers are still using pagers for care team communication, it’s easy to see how smartphones are a big improvement over the antiquated “page and wait for a call back” system. But it’s not until you really consider the power of today’s smartphones that you begin to understand the enormous potential Voalte brings to healthcare organizations.
The “phones” we carry in our pockets are not phones at all; they are powerful computers with the capability to do a myriad of tasks beyond making and receiving calls. Everyone with a smartphone has instant access to calendars, email, calculators, games, fitness trackers, maps of anywhere in the world, and a nearly limitless amount of information from a simple Internet search.
Just as thinking of smartphones as “phones” is an oversimplification, thinking of smartphones in healthcare as a way to do secure texting is missing the mark. Every day, I see Voalte customers leveraging the power of our smartphone platform in ways that positively affect care team collaboration, patient response times, clinical workflow, noise reduction, alarm management and more. Nowhere are the results more striking than in our children’s hospitals.
The Children’s Hospital Association, the voice of 220 children’s hospitals throughout the United States, recently reported on the following benefits of Voalte smartphones at these leading pediatric facilities:
- At Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Voalte smartphones were reported to “take communication inefficiencies out of the equation, decrease response time and improve patient care.” Voalte smartphones integrate with the nurse call system, so the nurse assigned to each patient receives an instant alert when the patient or a family member pushes the call button.
- Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago implemented Voalte smartphones in a brand-new facility, resulting in better staff communication and a quieter environment. Lisa Rog, Senior Nursing Informatics Specialist, said, “At the old hospital, we were using pagers, overhead announcements, and even shouting down hallways.” Now, caregivers receive text messages with just a chirp or vibration.
- More than 3,000 Voalte smartphones at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston support complex clinical workflows, receiving alarm and alert notifications that have a specified priority and escalation process to ensure a prompt response to patients. The Voalte Directory makes it easy to see at a glance who is available or busy, and reach the right staff member with one tap, no matter where they are on the hospital campus.
Other Voalte customers are integrating smartphones with their electronic medical records, physiological monitors, and even new-age robots that deliver linens, food and medication. (Take a look at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital webinar to see more on how this next-generation facility depends on smartphones for clinical communication and alarm management.)
As smartphones get even more powerful, their potential to improve patient care will continue to grow.
Dennis Gallagher is Vice President of Strategic Accounts at Voalte.