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Technology to enhance hands-on care

Implementation of voice-activated communication badges will enhance staff members' responsiveness to patients' needs.

The adoption of voice-activated communication badges by the clinical team is expected to take the patient experience to the next level at Runnymede Healthcare Centre. In the fall of 2017, the hospital will implement a leading-edge technology to increase responsiveness to patients’ needs, improve safety and enhance the staff experience.

The clinical team at Runnymede currently use mobile phones to communicate during their shifts, but handsets have limitations. “Our transition to Vocera badges represents a great step forward in communications at the hospital,” says Raj Sewda, vice president, patient care, chief nursing executive and chief privacy officer at Runnymede. “This lightweight, voice-activated technology will allow our clinical team to talk to each other easily with badges located on lanyards that staff can wear around their necks.”

With the new system, when a patient presses the call button next to their bed, a notification will be triggered on the badge worn by their assigned nurse. To start a conversation with the patient, the nurse simply needs to give a voice command to begin talking.

If a nurse needs to ask for extra help or additional supplies to meet a patient’s needs, they can use their badge to initiate a call to another member of the clinical team without leaving the patient’s side. By saying the name of a colleague, the nurse will be connected to a designated phone number or another badge-wearing staff member at the hospital.

The badges will also be integrated into Runnymede’s alarm system, so staff will have an even greater awareness of emergency codes throughout the hospital. This integration will also enable staff to launch an appropriate emergency code response if a safety risk or medical emergency is encountered.

Once the badges have been implemented fully, Sewda anticipates gains for Runnymede’s patients and staff members. “The technology will streamline communications among our nurses, enabling them to work to their greatest potential,” he said. “Our expectation is the technology will increase their collaboration and efficiency, while enhancing safety and responsiveness to patients’ needs.”

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