LVH-Cedar Crest launches ER app for family members

LVH-Cedar Crest launches ER app for family members

Date Published

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) is the first health system in the United States to deploy the new Vocera Ease ER app that allows families to follow a family member’s emergency room progress on their phone from anywhere in the nation.

LVHN is the first to integrate the secure, cloud-based app with its electronic health records (EHR) system.

The emergency department at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH) - Cedar Crest is the first hospital in the LVHN system to implement the app.

After it was launched Oct. 6, more than 2,600 messages were sent in the first week of operation to family members 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.

Vocera Communications, Inc., a leader in clinical communication and workflow solutions, works with health systems to deploy the mobile solution, which was created to improve patient experience and family communication while reducing the cognitive burden of care-teams members.

Vocera Ease ER automatically delivers secure, automated messages to patients and their family 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 the Ease program, and patients decide who will receive secure updates on their treatment.

“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,” said Richard MacKenzie, MD, senior vice chair of emergency and hospital medicine at LVHN.

LVHN’s EASE webpage, LVHN.org/ease-app, 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 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.

“We are excited to work with the Vocera Ease team to expand the ER app to emergency departments across our network,” said Michael Minear, senior vice president and chief information officer, LVHN.

LVHN previously partnered with the Ease team in 2017 when the health system launched the initial Ease messaging 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 EHR system.

LVH - Cedar Crest has the largest emergency department in Pennsylvania, with its emergency care and Level I trauma center operations, including its children’s emergency room, spanning more than 160,000-square-feet.

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