I couldn’t have anticipated how personal Vocera® would become for me.
I remember the day in early 2001 when I received a call from a recruiter who told me about Vocera. He said, “I can't even describe to you what they're doing. You've just got to go see it.”
I’d been cultivating an entrepreneurial desire since business school and was looking for an opportunity with a Silicon Valley startup. I met with Rob Shostak, Vocera’s founder, and he described his vision for the product he was developing. It wasn't just another system on a chip or piece of silicon or another security or networking product. It was a unique voice-controlled communication system, and this was nearly a decade before Siri was even introduced. I saw how it could have a direct impact on lives and that it had potential to change the way people communicate. I also saw it as a chance to create something from scratch that had never been done before. It was a perfect opportunity.
When I joined, Vocera hadn’t yet determined the industries our solution could best serve. As part of some extensive customer research, our team went into a hospital to speak with nurses about their needs, and what our solution could do. One nurse practically started to cry recounting the years of frustration she’d experienced trying to connect with the right care provider when every second counted. After seeing the prototype of the hands-free communication badge and the concept video, she and the other nurses literally said, “You're going to change the way nursing is practiced around the world. Where have you been for the last 25 years?” Their response came as a total surprise to us.
Our focus on healthcare was born in that hospital.
In 2014, my son was diagnosed with lymphoma and our family had to spend a lot of time at the hospital.
Through that experience, I gained a whole new appreciation for what it is like to be in a hospital and to be a patient. As a father having to watch my son go through this process, I learned a lot about the fear, frustration, and confusion that can surround being in a medical environment. I also was able to observe what hospital staff, especially nurses, go through in just trying to do their jobs.
One time a nurse was trying to care for my son, and the phone in her pocket kept ringing. She was wearing sterile gloves, but in order to answer the call, she had to reach in her pocket to access the phone. Because she was mid-procedure, all she could do after she answered the phone was say that she wasn’t available and that the caller would need to call someone else. Before she could continue with the procedure, she had to put on a new pair of gloves and regain her focus. Besides being concerned for my son, all I could think about was how different the event would have been if the nurse had been using our solution. She could have accepted or rejected the call, hands-free. She could have relied on our built-in escalation workflows to direct the call to someone who could have actually helped, and not been distracted during that important procedure.
My son’s illness, and our frustration with our experience in the hospital,helps explain why I'm passionate about improving healthcare and making the lives of patients and care givers better.
The former CEO of El Camino Hospital put it well when he was explaining to me why they purchased the Vocera solution. He said that he just wanted to reduce the hassles that nurses have to go through in their daily lives. Nurses are under so much stress and have so many competing activities and priorities throughout their day. The Vocera solution is one simple thing that can reduce the complexity they have to deal with.
Vocera’s most important differentiator is its ability to leverage information about users to create more intelligent communication pathways and workflows. More than the wearability of the badge, the heart and soul of Vocera has always been that as a user of the system, your profile has pertinent information about you. It has the groups and workflows you're a part of. It has your location. It has your presence information. We leverage that information to direct calls to the right person. More than anything else, that’s what makes Vocera unique.
When information flows instantly, healthcare is safer and more cost effective, and can do more to improve lives.
We see this at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center where they're reducing emergency department wait times by integrating Vocera with Epic’s bed management system for intelligent workflow. Obviously reducing bed turnaround times by 50% is a huge benefit.
We also see it at the University of Arkansas Medical Center where they’re reducing falls. They started out at the 98th percentile for falls injuries, based on their National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI). We integrated Vocera with bed sensors that could tell when the patient was getting out of bed, and would send an alert to their nurse’s Vocera badge. This enabled the nurse to get into the room and assist the patient to the restroom before they potentially fell and seriously hurt themselves. Vocera is part of the center’s comprehensive fall prevention program, which has reduced fall rates 11% and fall-related injuries 60%. It’s a really great example of clinical system integration and communication and workflow.
Vocera began with a simple device, a hands-free communication badge, enabled by an intelligent software communications platform that creates the magic behind the scenes. Today Vocera is much more. We still have the inimitable badge, but we’ve expanded our offerings to include Vocera Collaboration Suite software that delivers our magical experience on smartphones. We’ve added two-way integration with Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems like Epic, and integrate with more than 70 clinical systems (nurse call, physiologic monitoring, and many more). We’ve branched out to applications that make it easier to coordinate care, such as our care rounding and patient communication solutions. We have a clinical staff that works closely with hospitals to drastically remove steps from clinical workflows, and another team dedicated to working with hospitals to improve the overall experience for care teams, patients, and families.
The really good news is, while healthcare has become ever more complicated, Vocera’s solutions have remained easy to use.
Vocera is a passion-driven organization. Our employee base as a whole is drawn to the impact we can have on saving lives and helping nurses and patients have a better experience. I regularly have people come in to interview who say they want to be part of Vocera because they want to work on technology that has an impact on the world and can help save or improve people's lives.
My driving passion is to create a sustainable, long-term business success. My goal is to create a company that makes a meaningful and lasting impact on the world and does it in an appropriate manner, where we're doing things ethically. We're doing things in support of our customers, our employees, our investors, and our community.
Vocera is personal for me and for all of us. Making lives better is why we're here.