National Public Radio recently featured a story about a public safety officer at Loyola University who intervened when a young man with autism was having a seizure in a hospital emergency department. The officer engaged the young man in a playful way that defused his fear response and softened the other intervening officers’ approach to the situation. The safety officer’s intervention transformed the trajectory of the rapidly escalating situation and changed the outcome by 180 degrees. (Read or listen to the story here.)
Not everyone has the gift of being able to think of and execute a defusing approach in the heat of a difficult moment. But users of the Vocera Badge and Smartbadge have a tool available that allows them to offload that skill. The tool is called Easter eggs.
Easter eggs are secret messages or jokes intentionally hidden in software code. If your site’s Vocera administrator has enabled Easter eggs, you can access them on the Vocera Badge or Smartbadge by pressing the Call button and saying an Easter egg command just as you would any other command. The Vocera Genie, which is the Vocera Platform’s voice-recognition engine, responds to you with a fun, inspiring, or supportive audio message. Watch the video above to see how to use Easter eggs.
Lighthearted Fun for Serious Situations
Many of our customers use Easter eggs to help distract a patient receiving a shot or during physical therapy, and to inspire and support care team members.
A Vocera system admin at one of our customers was rounding to check on equipment and to ensure the clinical users were having a good experience with their Vocera solution. She overheard an emergency department nurse say, “It’s been a crazy day and it’s only Monday.”
The admin told the nurse, “The Vocera Genie is an unpaid therapist. Push the Call button on your Vocera Badge and say, ‘I'm having a bad day.’”
The nurse pushed the Call button and said, “I’m having a bad day.”
The Vocera Genie replied, “Take a deep breath and know that you are helping to save a life today.”
The nurse’s eyes widened. She smiled, as did other nurses and staff in the room.
During subsequent rounding, the admin observed that same nurse instructing another nurse to use the Vocera Genie as a therapist. The nurse had discovered the “I need a hug” Easter egg and was showing it to her teammate. (See both commands in action in the Vocera Minute video above.)
An operating room manager at one hospital uses the “Goodbye” command after his huddles. When he says “Goodbye,” the Genie responds, “Live long and prosper.” It gives team members a laugh and helps them remember to wear their Vocera Badges.
Your site admin can also program special messages and unique Easter eggs.
An applications analyst told me that the IT team in his hospital has created a “fun zone” site where they have 25 Easter eggs that play children’s songs and rhymes requested by staff in the hospital’s pediatric units. They will be adding relaxing lullabies and relaxation exercises to help sooth patients.
Many years ago, before I worked for Vocera, I was a Vocera admin at a hospital where I programmed in location names that were Easter eggs. Users would run across them when they asked the Vocera Genie, “Where am I?” If the user’s Vocera Badge was associated to the wireless access point that had that location name, the Genie would respond with a fun message.
- In the L&D unit the Genie would respond by stating the wing and floor and end with a baby’s laugh.
- In the network engineer’s office, the Genie would respond, “At the end of my rope.”
- In another location known as The Twilight Zone, the Genie would play part of the show’s intro using the voice of the show’s host, Rob Serling.
Watch the Vocera Minute video above to see how to play Easter eggs on the Vocera Smartbadge.
Code Lavender – Comfort and Spiritual Support During Times of High Stress
Code Lavender® is an integrative medicine service and tool for helping people who have been presented with a difficult case, diagnosis, or loss. You can schedule a Code Lavender event to help give colleagues, patients, and families mental and emotional strength and energy to cope with challenging situations. Your Vocera site administrator can configure a Code Lavender broadcast group.
A Vocera clinical informaticist recently was onsite at a hospital completing a post-deployment assessment and learned that a staff member had passed away unexpectedly that morning. The team used Code Lavender to notify one another and mobilize a support team for staff members.
Learn more about Code Lavender in the blog post Code Lavender: Transforming the Human Experience in Healthcare from Dr. Bridget Duffy, chief medical officer at Vocera.
Share Your Easter Egg Stories!
I welcome you to contact me on LinkedIn if you have questions about Easter eggs or want to share a story about how you use them in your hospital. You can also follow the #VoceraEasterEggs hashtag and use it when posting about your favorite commands on social media.
And now for a little Easter egg of my own: Many thanks to my customer friends who share their stories with me – in so many ways, I wouldn’t want to do this job without you!