"The patient I was accompanying for a CT scan suddenly became very ill. I was immediately able to call the emergency department for backup from my Badge.”
No, not Bones speaking to Kirk in an episode of Star Trek but a quote from a staff nurse at Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT). The Trust employs 22,000 staff members and serves 500,000 people a year. Its Emergency Department treats more than 50,000 patients a year and obviously enjoys a challenge, because in December 2007 it deployed the Vocera Communications System at the same time as relocating to an interim facility.
Kinetic Consulting Ltd. was chosen to carry out a benefits study of the implementation before and after deployment the findings of which are summarised here.
Data were collected before and after implementation using a combination of questionnaires, observational research, activity data analysis, interviews with staff and the collection of anecdotal evidence. Kinetic Consulting found Vocera System benefits included: savings in clinical time; more efficient processes; reduction in delays; increased clinician satisfaction; and improvements in patient care and safety. Ninety-eight percent of staff interviewed said internal communications had improved.
The Vocera Communications System consists of two main components: the Vocera System Software and the Vocera Communications Badge. The System Software runs on a standard Windows server and houses the centralised system intelligence: the call manager, user manager, and connection manager programs, as well as the Nuance speech recognition software and various databases.
The Vocera Communications Badge B2000 is a wearable device weighing less than two ounces. It enables instant two-way voice conversation. Features of the badge include:
- Voice controls, enabling users to answer incoming calls hands-free
- Intelligent system software allowing staff to call associates by name, function or group with no need to remember numbers
- Supporting group communications with conference calling, broadcast messaging and voice mail
- PBX integration enabling users to make and receive internal calls from their Badges.
Given the usual difficulties of implementing ICT in healthcare to everyone’s satisfaction, it’s a great pleasure to find a system that is unobtrusive, improves patient care and gives such immediate benefit.