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Health IT firm’s platform lets nurses use text messages to manage workflow

1:39 pm by | 1 Comments

As the trend of providers adopting smartphones begins to pick up, a health IT and communication company’s platform for iPhones hopes to reduce medical errors by clinical care team members. The Sarasota, Florida company has raised $6 million in a series B round, according to a Form D document filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Voalte CEO Robert Campbell told MedCity News the investment raised from strategic corporate investors would help the company scale up to meet demand.

“We set out to address [hospitals'] critical communication needs. Traditionally, hospitals are equipped with antiquated communication systems. Even if  hospitals are already using smartphones, getting signals can be a big impediment as many medical devices can create electromagnetic interference.”

The platform relies on the providers Wi-Fi system, so Voalte works with companies to update provider’s Wi-Fi coverage. Its platforms for iPhones and iPads and desk-based computers help members of the clinical care team communicate with each other. The smartphone platform integrates phone calls, alarms and alerts. It shows users which clinical care team members are available.

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Patients’ falls, particularly as they are recovering from surgery, is a significant problem at hospitals and can increase hospitalization costs. Patients who need to contact a nurse for assistance using the bathroom, for instance, can generate an alert to Voalte’s platform. A nurse can assign that task to someone who is available so that the patient does not risk injuring himself in the attempt. It also confirms when the message is read by the recipient. The platform also provides a list of frequently used statements that can be selected.

Campbell said the company’s main competitor is Vocera Communications. Among Voalte’s 25 clients are Massachusetts General, Cedars-Sinai and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

Communication breakdowns are cited as the root cause of  70 percent of reported sentinel events in hospitals and can include things like missed medication, injuries and life-threatening situations for patients. Handoffs and telephone orders are part of that figure, which also includes verbal orders, confusing medical abbreviations and miscommunication of critical test results.

[Photo from Big Stock]

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Stephanie Baum

By Stephanie Baum

Stephanie Baum is the East Coast Innovation Reporter for MedCityNews.com. She enjoys covering healthcare startups across health IT, drug development and medical devices and innovations deployed to improve medical care. She graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania and has worked across radio, print and video. She's written for The Christian Science Monitor, Dow Jones & Co. and United Business Media.
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