Doctors & nurses at LRGH now communicating via special cell phones

LACONIA — Communication between physicians, nurses and technicians is the life blood of hospitals and earlier this year LRGHealthcare introduced a system that speeds and eases the flow of information.
The Voalte Communication System, programmed into Apple iPhones, enables staff throughout the hospital to communicate with one another, by either voice or text, wherever they may be. Rae Mello-Andrews, clinical staff educator, explained that the system facilitates the timely exchange of information without the need to page an individual or contact a nursing station. "Nurses caring for patients at their bedsides with a question or concern for a physician can contact them directly without leaving the patient," she said. Likewise, she said that nurses can reached without "running from room-to-room or paging."
Mello-Andrews said that hospital personnel can use the devices to call outside the hospital, for instance to a physician's office, but can only receive calls from outside the facility from those who have been given an access code, such as a family member of a patient who would then be able to reach the attending nurse directly.
"Voalte has cut down on wasted time tremendously," Mello-Andrews remarked, "and improved work flow by assisting multi-tasking significantly. It has also decreased the level of noise in the hospital, really quietened things down."
Mello-Andrews said that the system was introduced at Franklin General Hospital in December and at Lakes Region General Hospital in January. In advance, patients and visitors were told not to be concerned at finding hospital staff talking on cell phones for they were not speaking with friends or children, but working.
"We've really just started," she said, adding that "our plan is grow this program." Currently there are 150 programmed iPhones at the admitting desk, nursing areas, imaging center and laboratory with plans to include the hospital pharmacy and physical therapy department in the network. Physicians, Mello-Andrews said, can reach nurses directly through an access code and extension number.