Vocera makes its voice heard with two buys

By Mike Miliard
10:31 AM

Vocera Communications, which makes point-of-care communication solutions for hospitals, announced two new acquisitions on Tuesday: Clinical Health Communications and Integrated Voice Solutions.
The two companies make technology that helps hospital workers better manage patient hand-offs – which occur during shift changes and when patients are transferred between departments. Their flagship products, called OptiVox and VoiceCare, respectively, are deployed at more than 140 hospitals between them.

Vocera chairman and CEO Bob Zollars says the firms, both based in Tennessee, have "very nice product lines, but they [don't] have an easy way to get to market."

He says the benefits to the mergers (whose terms were not disclosed) are threefold. "One, utilizing our sales force and distribution system to help bring these products to market. Two, there's a great integration opportunity for their product lines and the Vocera badge and our other voice solutions. Third, they've got great pipelines. They have products that are already on the market and they're pretty far along on future development as well."

According to the Joint Commission, communication breakdowns were the root cause of more than 65 percent of the 3,811 sentinel events in its database. Of those breakdowns, more than half were associated with patient hand-offs – and 75 percent resulted in the patient’s death,

"It's simply just not right," says Zollars.

He says OptiVox and VoiceCare will help Vocera – whose technology is currently used by nearly half a million nurses and clinicians in 650 hospitals – improve hand-off accuracy and efficiency among care teams, patients and loved ones, improving safety and making for a better patient experience.
“We see tremendous synergies between the OptiVox and VoiceCare hand-off applications and the Vocera communications solutions,” says Guille Cruze, CEO of Clinical Health Communications. “We are very excited to join a company that shares our vision for excellence and commitment to the highest levels of patient care.” 

Cruze will join Vocera’s executive team as vice president and general manager of hand-off communications. Prem and Janet Chopra, founders of Integrated Voice Solutions, developers of the VoiceCare product, will serve as strategic advisers to Vocera.

In a rare request for a CEO these days, Zollars asked Healthcare IT News for help in getting the word out about Vocera's need for new employees. Having made more than 30 hires in the third quarter of FY10, he expects there will be 28 open positions in Q4. "We're constantly looking for new talent to help us deliver for our customers."