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High-tech communication

March 2008

Published in the March 2008 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

TIRED OF ANSWERING PAGES and backtracking to explain orders? A device that weighs less than two ounces may be the solution.

The Vocera system, which consists of software and a “badge," provides wireless, hands-free communication. The badge is voice-activated “simply say “call Dr. Smith,” “conference Drs. Smith and Lee” or “call radiology” “so users throughout the hospital can make and receive phone calls without having to remember or punch in phone numbers. The badge can be clipped onto a coat or worn with a lanyard.

Physicians press a button on the badge to activate a call. Pressing another button on the device blocks live calls and sends callers into voicemail. You can give certain users the ability to over-ride your “do not disturb” function in case of emergencies.

Launched in 2002, the Vocera system has made inroads in industries where mobility is at a premium. That includes not only health care, but libraries, hotels and retail.

In hospitals, according to company president Brent Lang, the system allows for faster workflow and response time, as well as enhanced productivity. “You get immediate access to the person you need to speak with,” Mr. Lang says, “with a live tone that can convey a sense of urgency.”

Badges also permit two-way text messaging and alerts for situations when live communication isn’t appropriate. Optional software allows users to make and receive phone calls from outside phone systems, so hospitalists can connect with referring physicians.

More information about the system is online at www.vocera.com.