Voalt© iPhone application improves critical communication at point-of-care
Nationwide, nurse workloads have increased due to higher patient acuity, increased documentation requirements and shortages of staff. Today's nurse finds it more difficult to manage the multiple demands of patients, families and other members of the healthcare team. Put simply, nurses frequently lack the time to do what they joined the profession to do - provide quality patient care. In addition to their bedside care duties, successfully performing their job often depends on their ability to communicate with coworkers and physicians both inside and outside the hospital, and getting the job done can be challenging.
"Our nurses were carrying hospital provided pagers, wireless phones, separate pagers designed to alert them of critical patient alarms•.there were too many bells and beeps requiring attention, not to mention their pockets were literally overflowing with electronic devices," said Ron Rutherford RN, Huntington's director of informatics.
Enter Trey Lauderdale, who, when working for Emergin, the industry leader in alarm management/automated event notification solutions for healthcare facilities, witnessed firsthand the plight of busy nurses. He observed the nurses answering phones, pagers and call lights, and realized the need for an integrated communication solution.
Lauderdale's vision became a reality when he and his partners formed Voalt©, a company focused on developing software solutions for the healthcare industry. The Voalt© One system provides voice, alarm and text services all on one device. Developed for Apple's iPhone, Voalt© is designed to be a unified communication solution, combining phone calls across the hospital PBX, text messaging via a visual user directory and user-friendly alarm management. With Voalt©, caregivers can receive and respond to alarms dispatched by over 200 hospital systems and devices optimizing workflow and improving patient satisfaction and safety.
Though Huntington is the first hospital on the West Coast to install the Voalt© One, it was initially piloted at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Florida. The test run elicited immediate and direct feedback from nurses who worked closely with the Voalt© team, confirming how easily staff adapted to using the Voalt© iPhones.
The nurses lauded the noise-reduction factor along with the convenience of carrying one device rather than several. Texting another nurse was noted to be much easier than roaming from room to room or having them paged overhead, and they found that is was far less disrupting to the patients they cared for.
At Huntington Voalt© received similar praise. "We were all very impressed with how the Voalt© phones improved communication on our unit," said Eunie Lee, RN. "With voice capability, prioritized alarm alerts, and text messages all available on one device, it has streamlined and simplified communication between staff members. Voalt© allows us to focus on nursing care with fewer interruptions. It has been a great asset to our unit."
"The bottom line is that anything that relieves nurses of non-clinical duties frees them up for bedside care. The decision to bring Voalt© One to our nursing staff not only underscores Huntington's dedication to quality patient care, but also its reputation as an early adopter when it comes to breakthrough technology," said Rutherford.