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Cloud-Hosted Communications for Makeshift Care Areas

Last spring, a 68-bed tent hospital opened in New York’s Central Park to treat overflow COVID-19 patients from the city’s Mount Sinai Hospital. At the same time, the Army Corps of Engineers completed conversion of the 1.8 million-square-foot Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City to accommodate more than 2,000 patients. For many of us, seeing these projects take shape was a shocking realization of just how dire the situation was in that city and many places around the world.

While the images of makeshift, emergency hospitals popping up in parks, dormitories and parking garages have been both shocking and inspiring, they represent only the most visible part of these massive undertakings. Critical care equipment, medical devices and system integrations are crucial in even the most rudimentary patient rooms. As Hillrom responds to the COVID-19 crisis with the hospital beds, stretchers, vitals monitors and ventilators our customers desperately need, we’re also working on software solutions we can deploy quickly to help ease the strain on caregivers.

Boston Hope, a 1,000-bed field hospital in the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, was set up to treat low acuity and recovering COVID-19 patients. In a matter of days, the team deployed Voalte® Extend, a cloud-hosted communications solution, to eliminate the need for hanging and wiring hardware while still providing patients with the ability to let caregivers know they need help. Relying on Microsoft Azure, this secure, ready-to-go solution can be deployed quickly using remote tools that don’t even require our staff to be onsite.

Here’s how it works: The hospital loans the patient a Samsung Tablet loaded with the Voalte Extend app, which gives the patient a simple user interface to send requests. At hospitals that can’t hand out tablets, patients can use their own personal smartphone or tablet’s SMS text app to send messages via Voalte Extend. To get started, a caregiver will help the patient with a simple setup process that includes patient assignment to a bed location. Patient requests can then be routed to the appropriate nurse’s Voalte smartphone solution, with the context the nurse needs to read and respond.

Voalte Extend requires no physical infrastructure, with wireless devices connecting directly to the cloud, and with the flexibility to rely on Wi-Fi or cellular connections. To get started or request more information, please reach out to your Hillrom Care Communications Executive. You can also see our Voalte Extend flyer.

Trey Lauderdale is VP and GM of Care Communications at Hillrom.