ER Patients, Families Benefit from New ER App

ER Patients, Families Benefit from New ER App

Joe Nixon
Date Published

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) is the first health system in the U.S. to deploy the new Vocera EASE ER app that allows families to follow a loved one’s emergency room progress right on their phone from anywhere.

LVHN is also the first to integrate the secure, cloud-based app with its electronic health record system.

Opens in new tabVocera Communications, Inc., a leader in clinical communication and workflow solutions, created the technology to improve patient and family communication.

How EASE ER works
Vocera EASE ER automatically delivers secure, automated messages to patients and their loved ones based on real-time status updates from hospital electronic health records. Examples of 25 automated messages include updates on room assignments, scheduled tests and more. The app is not intended for use with seriously ill or injured patients where hospital staff is traditionally in more direct contact with patient families.

Patients must sign a consent form to participate in EASE and patients decide who will receive updates on their treatment.

The emergency department at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Cedar Crest is the first hospital in the LVHN system to implement the app. Launched Oct. 6, more than 2,600 messages were sent in the first week of operation to loved ones in 11 states as far away as Hawaii, California and Florida. Plans include expanding the app to LVHN’s other hospitals as well as offering messaging in Spanish and other languages.

“The app helps provide consistent communication with patients and families between in-person interactions with clinicians and staff, helping patients know when and what to expect next. That’s reassuring and provides peace of mind,” says Richard MacKenzie, MD, senior vice chair of emergency and hospital medicine at LVHN. “This enhancement of the patient experience is what our community rightly expects of its premier health care partner.”

LVHN’s EASE webpage,, contains helpful information and offers links to download the app to a mobile device.

Clinical and information technology teams at LVH–Cedar Crest worked closely with the Vocera EASE professional services team to automate messages based on patient status. Messages sent from Vocera EASE ER disappear after 60 seconds of screen time, and nothing is saved on the recipients’ mobile devices, adding an extra level of security. The app, which can be used on Android and iOS devices, is free for patients and their loved ones.

Raising the bar
“We are excited to work with the Vocera EASE team to expand the ER app to emergency departments across our health network,” said Michael Minear, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, LVHN. “This is another example of our focus on patients and families to deliver modern digital capability to enhance the patient experience.”

LVHN previously partnered with Vocera in 2017 when it launched the company’s EASE app to provide operating room updates to patient families. Unlike the EASE ER app, EASE messages from the operating room are generated by staff and are not automated and linked to the hospital’s electronic health records system.

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