Hands-free communication helps care teams save valuable time and PPE
Vocera Communications, Inc. (NYSE:VCRA), a recognized leader in clinical communication and workflow solutions, today announced that Saratoga Hospital in New York used Vocera Badges worn under personal protective equipment (PPE) to prepare for COVID-19 and manage patient surges before and during the first wave of the pandemic.
"It was pretty tense waiting for the first wave of COVID-19. Having the Vocera Badges – and knowing we could communicate safely and effectively – was a source of assurance as we prepared for an unprecedented challenge," said Diane Bartos, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, Director of Critical Care at Saratoga Hospital, which has been using the hands-free communication across the facility for more than six years. "Managing a pandemic is not the time for cell phones or other hand-held devices that can be contaminated."
Before Saratoga Hospital experienced its first wave of COVID-19 patients, care team members were well prepared. The hospital conducted PPE training to help frontline workers understand the right way to put on PPE and the safest way to remove it. During the training, which took place inside and outside an anteroom, the educator would observe and guide team members as they donned and doffed their protective equipment. The educator and staff members wore Vocera Badges to communicate during the safety training, which helped nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, and other care team members reduce their risk of self-contamination.
"Because Vocera Badges can be worn and used under gowns, our care team members were able to communicate quickly and safely," Bartos said. "We were able to save valuable time and PPE. These devices were a huge help in preparing for the patient surge and for safeguarding our staff during this tough time."
During the peak of the pandemic, care teams in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Saratoga Hospital used hands-free communication to reduce the number of team members needed in the room and improve staff safety. When the intubation team put a patient on a ventilator, the charge nurse would stand outside the room to observe the procedure and communicate with the team via their Vocera Badges. The nurse would guide the team as needed to help reduce the risk of cross contamination.
Similarly, nurses in an isolation room use the wearable device to communicate with an outside runner to get needed supplies. This communication process reduces the number of people in the room and minimizes the number of times a nurse must leave and reenter a room, and in turn, don and doff PPE.
"The team at Saratoga Hospital is an inspiration and an amazing example of compassion and resilience," said Brent Lang, Chairman and CEO of Vocera. "I am so proud that Vocera solutions are helping protect healthcare workers on the frontlines as they care for patients during COVID-19 and beyond."