I’ve spent more than 15 years in Silicon Valley, working for a mix of hardware and software companies. My focus has always been on developing solutions that combine hardware and software in ways that make users’ lives easier. At Vocera, I’m now able to do that at a company that stimulates not only my brain, but also my heart. I know that what we do helps save people’s lives because I’ve seen it first-hand.
As a company, we are deeply passionate about improving the quality of health care, and making the workplace better for nurses, doctors, and other front-line hospital staff. Like many of my colleagues, I try to find ways to make life easier for the cardiologists, ER doctors, nurses, transport technicians, housekeeping professionals, and so many others who use our solutions.
Today hospitals are rethinking the way they function. I hear from many of our current and potential customers that they want to make electronic medical records (EHR) mobile with the use of smartphones, consolidate multiple devices into one easy-to-use solution, and deliver care that ensures both patient satisfaction and safety.
To achieve these goals, hospitals want to work with companies that offer solutions, not products – solutions that combine the software, hardware, services, and support they need to improve quality of care. The partnerships we’ve formed at Vocera allow us to do exactly that. Zebra is one of those partners, and I’m proud of the great relationship we’ve built since we announced our partnership in July of last year.
Unique partnership, constant drive for excellence
Vocera software operating on the Zebra MC40-HC mobile computer is a great example of hardware and software coming together to solve communication challenges and positively impact clinicians and patient outcomes.
The Zebra MC40-HC is a rugged Android smartphone designed specifically to stand up to the tough hospital environment. Vocera software runs on the Zebra MC40-HC. It integrates with EHR and clinical systems to streamline clinical workflow and enable critical communication to reach the right recipient.
Vocera is a Zebra Premier Solution Partner – the highest tier in Zebra’s global network of thousands of resellers. Our partnership delivers value to our customers in part because of our mutual commitment to sharing best practices. Together, we conduct ongoing testing in scenarios that represent our customers’ day-to-day work environment. Shared best practices happen across many functions – support, marketing, sales enablement, partner programs, and others. As we work together to improve our respective offerings, we share insights on how we might improve the other's innovations as well.
The upshot is a communication solution that continues to evolve to meet the real-world challenges hospitals face.
A streamlined communications solution for streamlined workflow
Nurses are mobile professionals. The better the technology they have at their fingertips as they move through their day, the greater the opportunity they have to improve patient care. Consider the time it takes a nurse to leave a patient’s bedside to access a computer monitor. Even if there’s a computer in the patient’s room, it takes attention away from the patient for the nurse to step away and log on. With a smartphone, the nurse can access that information directly from the bedside, allowing more time to interact with and care for patients.
But any nurse will tell you that more is not necessarily better. It’s common for nurses and doctors to carry multiple devices that allow them to respond separately to different clinical teams. I recently saw a nurse wearing four pagers at once because she was part of four different code teams! It’s no wonder they want to consolidate what they call the “Batman belt” and integrate multiple tools into one simplified solution. With Vocera software operating on the Zebra MC-40, they can.
With the Vocera solution clinicians can use more than one device when they shift roles during the day. Sometimes as a clinician you have certain activities like mobile charting or medical administration where you need a smartphone to use a mobile EHR, scan barcodes, or access information. But other times, such as in an operating room or in the emergency department, you need to be hands-free but still able to communicate. You can be logged into the Vocera system on a smartphone and a Vocera Communication Badge at the same time. If you need to be hands-free you can stick your phone in your pocket and use your Badge.
More than Vocera and Zebra
The partnerships that Vocera and Zebra both have with other vendors, such as providers of EHR or physiologic monitoring systems, allow us to tie communication more directly to hospital workflow.
As an example, one of our largest joint customers plans to make their Epic EHR mobile. They asked us and Zebra what our capabilities are with Epic, and together we showed them how we could meet their challenges with both a healthcare-capable smartphone that is Epic-certified as well as integrations on the smartphone between Vocera and Epic apps that streamline communication.
If you view a chart in Epic’s mobile EHR app that lists the doctors assigned to a specific patient, you can touch the name of a doctor and the app automatically provides one-button options to call, text, or email that person using the Vocera system. Then when the text has been sent or the call is ended, the user is automatically returned to where they left off in the mobile EHR. Clinicians will quickly understand how many steps this simple integration saves them.
Another example of Vocera software interoperability with clinical systems is our ability to deliver alarm management system information and context to a smartphone. Those alarms can come from a variety of clinical systems, including the EHR or physiologic monitoring.
It all comes down to efficiency and more time for patient care
What we do at Vocera in partnership with Zebra makes communication more efficient and better integrated with existing clinical workflow so that nurses and doctors can spend more time with patients. More time with patients naturally leads to better clinical outcomes, and patients who are more satisfied with their experience during their hospital stay.