I lead the Vocera technical support organization, overseeing support staff responsible for our customers’ post-deployment experience.
COVID-19 has caused many of our customers to be hit with patient surges they could not have anticipated. They’re calling us urgently saying, “We need something desperately, yesterday.” In response, we are deploying net-new communication solutions and upgrades to existing Vocera deployments at a startling speed. Communication solutions range from simple, single-department deployments to clinical workflow innovations never done before.
One great example of an innovation is a use case to support hospitals that are establishing pop-up bed locations by expanding the use of existing hospital space or extending to locations beyond the hospital. These environments present challenges to communication between care teams, patients, and families due to a lack of nurse call systems, and the need to wear personal protection equipment (PPE) and keep patients isolated.
We created a feature called care team connect for use with the Vocera Badge or Smartbadge. Using this feature, a Vocera device can be attached or placed next to a patient’s bed to allow nurses and doctors to communicate with a patient safely from outside the patient’s room without having to don and doff PPE. Patients can also easily initiate communication with the right care team member without leaving the bed, and nurses can bring patients and families together in a conversation. This use case is especially powerful with the Smartbadge, because patients and staff can initiate communication just by saying, “Ok Vocera.”
I want to share a few recent examples of how quickly we were able to help customers use Vocera technology to enable safe communication between care teams and patients in isolation environments.
On a Tuesday morning in March, a New York City hospital placed an order for Smartbadges. Initially, there was no urgency with the order.
That afternoon, they learned they would need to take overflow patients from another hospital on Thursday morning. Ten isolation rooms with safe, two-way communication between patients and care team members would need to be operational. They wanted the “Ok Vocera” functionality for the Smartbadges, which meant their Vocera servers would need to be upgraded.
We shipped the Smartbadges to the customer overnight.
Wednesday, our upgrade team worked with the customer to remotely upgrade servers, make changes to the hospital’s network, and configure and test the new Smartbadges. That evening, the customer placed the Smartbadges in the patient rooms, allowing safe, two-way communication between patients and the care team.
Thursday morning at 8:00, the 10 isolation rooms were ready.
On a Tuesday in March, an east coast academic medical center decided to upgrade their Vocera Platform version by Thursday in order to enable the “Ok Vocera” hot word on Smartbadges in their COVID-19 unit.
On Thursday, we completed the upgrade.
On a Monday in April, the customer decided to enable the care team connect feature on an initial set of Smartbadges in their COVID-19 unit. We worked remotely with the customer’s IT team to upgrade their test servers and program two Smartbadges to demo the feature to management. Management approved the deployment, and we upgraded the production servers that evening. The next day, the Smartbadges were deployed inside the COVID-19 unit.
On a Tuesday in March, a hospital in the United Kingdom ordered their first Vocera clinical workflow communication solution, including Vocera Badges. On Thursday, the customer received the solution hardware. That day, we configured the servers and Badges, installed the software, and designed call flows for four clinical isolation units. On Friday, we tested the communication under PPE and delivered basic training. On Saturday, the customer used part of the system. On Monday, we delivered advanced training and the system went fully live.
Every department at Vocera has been pulling together to accelerate deployments for customers worldwide. We are proud of what we’ve accomplished with and for our customers. We feel incredibly grateful we’re able to help.
In times of crisis, flexibility and ingenuity are critical. Read our eGuide, “7 Strategies to Stay Safe While Staying Connected” for inspiration on use cases for Vocera technology that can help you now and in the future.
Visit our COVID-19 Resource page for more information about COVID-19 workflow communication solutions. Our resource page includes a library of Vocera COVID-19 use cases. Many of the use cases in this library were defined and deployed by our customers. I welcome you to connect with me on LinkedIn to share how Vocera has helped you and/or your organization, and to share use cases you have created. With your permission, we’d like to add your use cases to our library to help as many hospital workers as possible on the front line of this pandemic communicate more safely and efficiently.
Vocera hardware and software are not intended to replace a UL 1069 nurse call system. The care team connect feature is intended to enable communication between patients and care teams in temporary bed locations.