Unifying clinical comms to support patient and staff safety
Niagara Health needed a solution to help unify clinical communications across the enterprise.
“We were using pagers, VoIP phones, and other disparate communication methods to get ahold of each other prior to Vocera,” said Chuck Quigley, Transformation Director at Niagara Health.
They wanted to provide physicians, nurses, and other members of staff with a standard means to communicate that could also help them seek assistance, and conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) while minimising the spread of infectious disease.
Unifying Clinical Communications to Support Patient and Staff Safety
Niagara Health selected the Vocera® Platform to unify staff communications across its five hospital sites. Their solution includes the Vocera app for use on clinicians’ personal smartphones, and the wearable Vocera Badge for hands-free communication. Niagara Health uses Vocera technology enterprise wide. Users logged into the Vocera Platform can communicate with each other, regardless of which hospital site they are working in.
“Staff all communicate via Vocera using the Badge or the app — whatever device works best for their role,” explained Jeff Wilson, Director of Information and Communications Technology at Niagara Health. “Because the Vocera Platform is device agnostic, we were able to standardize clinical communication across our hospital campus with ease.”
While many physicians primarily use the Vocera smartphone app, staff in more hands-on patient care environments prefer the Vocera Badge. Staff can call for help, request supplies or information, or talk with a patient’s physician — all without leaving the point of care.
With the Vocera app, physicians share test results and other essential patient information securely including demographics, waveforms, vital signs, care team information, and more. The Vocera app indicates when a message has been sent, received, and read.
“We have peace of mind knowing that staff are always logged into Vocera when they’re working because it’s an essential part of everyday communication,” explained Sandy Traynor, Workplace Relations Manager at Niagara Health. “In the event that a care team member needs to call a code white, we know they’re prepared to do so.”
A code white activates appropriate staff in response to a threat. A user double taps the Call button on the Badge to alert security staff. Security staff, who also wear the Badge, can discreetly hear what is going on while on their way to the scene.
Clinicians caring for COVID-19 positive patients wear the Badge under PPE. They can communicate hands-free from inside an isolation room if they need supplies or assistance.
Vocera technology unifies staff communications, enhances efficiency, and allows Niagara Health staff to provide excellent patient care. The technology is widely adopted.
“Vocera provides me with access to our care team without needing to leave my patient’s side,” Cindy Skubel, Women and Babies Nurse at Niagara Health explained. “Because our physicians all use Vocera, I can easily say, ‘urgently call OB on-call’ and be connected to the Obstetrics physician without needing to know who is working.”
Since deploying Vocera systemwide for staff duress calls, the number of people injured in aggressive incidents has decreased by 20%.
“The Vocera Platform allows us to call a code white and summon assistance in an instant, but it does so much more than that,” said Stevie Christopher, Information and Communications Technology System Analyst at Niagara Health. “It’s a robust communication and collaboration solution that unifies staff across our health system. Staff, hopefully, only need to call a code white on occasion, but they use the Vocera Badge to communicate all shift long.”
With Vocera, clinicians caring for COVID-19 positive patients can communicate hands-free from inside an isolation room. “Our frontline team members use Vocera Badges to easily communicate with each other under their many layers of PPE,” said Christopher. “Clinicians can reach the right person hands-free, regardless of their location, so there’s no need for unnecessary donning and doffing of PPE to communicate face-to-face.” Because staff don’t need to doff, they can save time and conserve PPE, reduce the risk of self-infection, and spend more time focused on providing care.
“Vocera technology helps our staff stay safe, connected, and prepared,” Traynor said. “We know our staff love it because they have told us, and because they always use it.”