When VoaltÃ© One contacted Scrubs Magazine to review their new app, we were immediately intrigued. Here was an app that was developed and designed specifically for nurse teams to help streamline communication and thus improve patient outcomes.
The VoaltÃ© One app (its name is derived from the words Voice, Alarm and Text) works on both Apple products (iPhone, iTouch, iPad) and the Blackberry. And although it’s pretty new, it’s being used by a few hospitals already, such Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Sarasota, FL, and Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, CA. A number of other hospitals have also recently signed on and are in the process of installing the system.
Here’s how it works if you’re one of the lucky nurses whose hospital installs Voalte:
(1) Ideally, your hospital buys each of you an iPhone (or iTouch, or iPad, or Blackberry) to be used over the WiFi-controlled hospital network (yes!).
(2) You get your own VoaltÃ© One “profile” that is created with the help of VoaltÃ© One staff during the initial in-hospital training session.
(3) You log in and use your profile on your iPhone/Blackberry device.
(4) You use the iPhone or Blackberry to make traditional phone calls with extension mobility, but you can also receive and react to alarms and alerts, and send and receive text messages to communicate with your teams, thereby replacing pagers and all other handheld devices.
(5) All messages sent from your VoaltÃ© enabled phone can use customized ringtones to help you prioritize.
Here are some of the biggest benefits of VoaltÃ© One, according to the company:
- Quick messaging. Each nurse has the ability to set pre-canned text messages in her profile. These pre-canned messages can be accessed through any iPhone device the nurse is using by logging in and accessing her profile. By pre-canning messages that are sent over and over throughout the day, the nurse can save time on communicating and spend more time on patients.
- Customizable profiles. Each nurse has a wide range of functions that she can customize and save to her profile. For instance, nurses can save the size of the font they want on their device by using the pinch gesture. This size is saved and “remembered” by any iPhone with the VoaltÃ© One app installed.
- Access to information. The VoaltÃ© One app and the iPhone are like a computer in the hands of every single caregiver. Any piece of info that a nurse needs to know will be at the tap of a finger. Nurses are better able to prioritize and administer, leading to better patient outcomes.
What nurses are saying:
- Reminder tool increases safety. “As a PFC [patient flow coordinator], a particularly helpful tool is group messaging in which I’m able to remind everyone of hourly rounding, hand washing, et cetera,” says Josie Gavia, RN. “If I have to assign a new admit, I can text the RN, PCA and unit secretary at one time instead of making calls to three people.”
- Mass texting replaces individual calling. “As bedside nursing is becoming more advanced and patients more complicated, our responsibilities as nurses are increasing,” says Heather Tamminga, RN. “VoaltÃ© is improving the communication on our unit and therefore allowing more time to provide patient care and achieve our responsibilities. The texting feature provides efficient communication among nurses and patient care associates to make our needs known. Multiple people can be texted at one time, rather than having to be called individually. In addition to texting, when patients’ telemetry alarms, we are able to view the alarm on our device immediately rather than take valuable time and walk to the nursing station.”
- Teamwork at the touch of a button. “VoaltÃ© is a user-friendly device that has very useful functions that allow us to connect with our coworkers on the floor with a push of a button,” says Ana F. Araneta, RN.
- Multitasking from one device. “With a unified system enabling voice capability, prioritized telemetry alarms and text messaging, nurses are no longer required to carry multiple antiquated, and often unreliable, devices,” says Eunie Lee, RN.
- More time with patients. “VoaltÃ© has been a positive addition to my daily routine,” says Jessica Espinoza, PCA. “It has decreased the number of calls that I receive and allows me to spend more uninterrupted time with the patients. The quick message function makes it much easier to let the nurse know exactly what the patient needs.”
Bottom line: We like it. Especially if the hospitals are supplying the hardware (iPhone, iPad, iTouch or Blackberry). We can see how effective it would be for a charge nurse to be able to notify all staff members of admissions and other information, and we can see how it would be effective for telemetry concerns and alarms.
But…we’re wondering how it works with communication with the MDs and how it decreases the amount of miscommunication that results in sentinel events.
We’re excited to see if the VoaltÃ© One creators can create incremental improvements to this new technology that will allow for increased time at the bedside. This would be great for patient advocacy.