Vocera enabled Ranken Jordan to expand inpatient space beyond the 60,000 square foot building to the 12 acres of outdoor space without compromising safety; Vocera Communication System allows staff to immediately call for help when needed.
Ranken Jordan, a 34-bed pediatric bridge hospital located near St. Louis, Missouri, provides rehabilitation and subacute medical treatment for sick and injured children, specializing in kids with complex medical conditions. Ranken Jordan bridges the gap between traditional hospital treatment and going home, using the pioneering philosophy of ‘care beyond the bedside.’
“Kids do not get better lying in bed; kids get better being out of bed and moving and doing the things kids should do,” said Lauri Tanner, RN, MSN, FACHE, President and CEO of Ranken Jordan.
An essential foundation of this approach is the ability for patients, accompanied by caregivers and family members, to move freely from hospital rooms to other areas within the building and to all corners of the campus, including outdoor play areas. The Vocera hands-free wireless communication system provides continuous communication and connectivity to enable this free movement throughout the Ranken Jordan facility.
“Vocera fits perfectly into Ranken Jordan’s innovative care environment, where we get kids up and out of bed and into the non-clinical care areas,” said Nick Holekamp, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Ranken Jordan. “We empower our patients to live outside the medical setting in a way that can’t happen in a traditional hospital and that wouldn’t be possible without Vocera. Vocera lets the medical care follow the child rather than having the child stuck in one spot.”
Vocera Extends the Caregiving Range
All Ranken Jordan staff members, and even regular volunteers, wear Vocera Badges. The decision to adopt Vocera came in 2009 after the move to Ranken Jordan’s current state-ofthe-art building.
The Ranken Jordan staff decided they needed an alternative to the old building’s overhead paging, which was “annoying, disruptive to patients’ sleep, and inefficient” according to Tanner. “Everyone spent an inordinate amount of time running around looking for people and medical supplies.”
Katherine Esarey, Administrator of IT for Ranken Jordan, first saw Vocera at a HIMSS event. “We were looking for a portable, lightweight, hands-free communication alternative to overhead paging, and Vocera was a natural fit for us,” she said
“Vocera cuts down on ambient noise, distractions, and the inefficiency of having to stop what you’re doing and track someone down,” said Holekamp. “It enhances what we were already doing and makes our caregiving more effective.”
In a typical hospital, inpatient space consists of at least 80–100 square feet per bed. With the mobility enabled by the Vocera wireless hands-free system, Ranken Jordan has extended inpatient space not only within the 60,000 square foot building, but also throughout the 12 acres of outdoor space.
With patient safety as the staff’s number-one concern, Ranken Jordan’s care-beyond-thebedside model has huge safety implications because everyone is no longer controlled in one small area. Vocera allows staff to take patients outside and all around, and yet still be able to communicate immediately if help is needed.
Ranken Jordan’s emergency response team members all have Vocera Badges. Any staff member needing emergency help with a patient—such as a problem with a breathing tube or ventilator—can double-click the Vocera Badge to broadcast to the entire emergency response team, relaying location information and the nature of the problem.
“The safety issues involved in taking these medically complex kids outside and around campus means that our mobile communication requires rock-solid reliability, and guaranteed coverage and signal strength—which our Vocera System delivers,” said IT Administrator Esarey. “You can start a Vocera conversation on the rooftop of the building, continue it in the elevator to the bottom floor, and walk through the mechanical rooms, outside and all the way around the grounds, never dropping a call.”
Creating a Positive Environment for Patients, Families, and Staff
National rankings by Avatar Solutions put Ranken Jordan in the top tenth percentile for staff satisfaction. “Our unique environment, made possible by Vocera, provides staff members with an extremely uplifting, positive, and interactive work experience,” said Holekamp. “It’s an important factor in helping us recruit and retain our staff.”
“Vocera empowers the staff,” said Jenny Bahr, Employee Resource Manager at Ranken Jordan, who oversees housewide education. It also allows for quick communication among the staff regarding both inpatients and outpatients and enables more timely care to patients.
Instant communication is especially vital in Ranken Jordan’s environment, where kids don’t stay in their rooms all day; they get up and dressed in regular clothes, eat in a dining room, and move around and play throughout the facility. Ranken Jordan also enjoys a 97% patient and parent satisfaction rating.
Vocera Delivers High Return on Investment
“Vocera is part of the mobile, playful environment we cherish,” said Holekamp. “Since implementing Vocera, our communication has been enhanced dramatically. We have more communication—day to day, hour to hour—which lets us do our jobs better, faster, and more efficiently.”
Lauri Tanner sees the return on investment for Vocera on a number of levels.
“We’re more efficient; we reach the person we need when we need them,” she said. “In direct costs, that means not wasting the hourly rate of employees running around trying to find someone. Vocera boosts staff satisfaction, because they can be more efficient and know they can immediately reach someone for help or to get questions answered. It also increases patient satisfaction, because they know Vocera can help get them the resources they need, right away.”
“With Vocera, communication can happen in the moment, no matter where the kids or caregivers are located,” said Janene Mickel, Clinical Operations Manager. Vocera also streamlines the staff management workflow, making it quick and easy for the staffing secretary to fill extra shifts when needed.
The Vocera system is also used in case of a tornado or other weather emergency, to broadcast a message to all staff members, who can make sure everyone evacuates to a safe place in the building, quickly.
“Our care-beyond-the-bedside model is integral to everything we do with our patients at Ranken Jordan, and Vocera is a huge part of our culture,” said Tanner
“Once kids’ lives are saved, Ranken Jordan’s job is to help put their lives back together,” said Tanner. “As we say here, you might be on life support, but when you come to Ranken Jordan you’ll be on living support.”
“Vocera allows everyone at Ranken Jordan, including the IT staff, to be as mobile as the people we care for,” said Esarey. “I’m not sure how we’d work without Vocera.”