A new tool called Vocera is improving communication among nurses at City of Hope Helford Clinical Research Hospital by allowing them to speak directly to each other wherever they are in the facility.
Vocera is a hands-free communication system that works over a wireless network, and is the first implementation of the City of Hope Information System (CIS). The Vocera badge is a small, lightweight communicator that can be worn on a lanyard or clipped onto clothing. Users can instantly talk to other members of the patient care team by simply pressing a call button on the Vocera badge.
The tool lets Helford Hospital nurses communicate about patient care issues and respond to them quickly, even if they are not at a desk or a phone.
|A nurse demonstrates a Vocera badge. (Photo by p.cunningham)|
“With Vocera, care team members do not need to remember special codes, phone numbers or button presses,” said Sharon Steingass, R.N., vice president for ambulatory services and CIS project team leader for the group that guided Vocera development.
“Nurses just need to give a command such as ‘call’ or ‘page’ and indicate the name of the person or department they are trying to reach, and Vocera will instantly connect them.”
The Vocera system connects wirelessly between badges to allow nurses to contact each other directly, and also integrates into City of Hope’s phone system so that they can make phone calls between care team members as well as other departments or care providers on campus.
Incoming phone calls for a nurse can be transferred directly to that nurse’s Vocera badge. The Vocera system also allows nurses to activate a “do not disturb” mode if they are in a situation where they cannot take a call. Calls can be re-directed immediately to a designated extension or to voicemail.
If a nurse needs privacy to discuss sensitive patient information, calls on the Vocera badge can easily be transferred to any telephone extension.
“We are working on further refining the Vocera system and making it available to all City of Hope nursing staff in our clinics and units over the course of the coming year,” said Shirley Johnson, R.N., chief nursing and patient services officer.