Vocera to unveil ambient voice listening tech at HIMSS20

Caregivers with the clinical communications vendor’s Smartbadge can say “Hey, Vocera,” to initiate calls, voice messages, responses to events and alerts, or broadcasts to care teams or rapid response teams.
By Bill Siwicki
12:15 PM
Vocera to unveil ambient voice listening tech at HIMSS20

A physician wears Vocera's Smartbadge, which now will feature ambient voice listening capabilities.

Update: HIMSS20 has been canceled due to the coronavirus. Read more here.

At HIMSS20 next month, communications IT vendor Vocera will be debuting ambient voice capabilities to wake its wearable Vocera Smartbadge to allow caregivers to issue a command or instruction.

Any clinician wearing a Vocera Smartbadge will be able to communicate with the Vocera Platform and connect with the right person or resource by simply saying, “Hey, Vocera” or “OK, Vocera.” These simple phrases enable clinicians and other users to interact instantly with the wearable device without touching it.

Even while scrubbed or wearing gloves

Clinicians can simply say the wake word to their Smartbadge and start communicating and collaborating completely hands-free, even while scrubbed in or wearing surgical gloves. Communication via the Smartbadge can include calls, voice messages, responding to events and alerts, or broadcasting to care teams or rapid response teams.

“What drives us to build better solutions or add new features like ambient voice capability is our customers and what they need,” said Dave Lively, vice president of product management at Vocera. “That means understanding a day in the life of nurses, doctors and other care team members and hearing what they need to make that day easier.”

"In healthcare, communication through human speech is often more effective than communication through written words or online templates."

Dave Lively, Vocera

Based on customer feedback, the vendor designed the Vocera Smartbadge, which built on the existing, hands-free voice capabilities of the Vocera Badge. The Smartbadge provides a way to deliver ambient voice technology and make it easier for clinicians to communicate with each other, Lively said. There are many situations where a clinician would like to initiate communication with other clinicians completely hands-free, especially when delivering hands-on patient care, he added.

“Voice-controlled assistants help us with everything from playing music to selecting a restaurant,” he explained. “They can even help us manage our thermostat at home. While this technology in the consumer market is still relatively new, with home devices becoming more commonplace, voice-controlled assistants have had a foothold in the healthcare industry for some time.

The need for simplified clinical workflows

“Similar to consumer technology and trends, the use of voice-controlled assistants by healthcare workers has expanded over the years as core technology improves and the need for ease and simplified clinical workflows increases,” he continued.

“In healthcare, communication through human speech is often more effective than communication through written words or online templates. In fast-paced environments like hospitals, it is imperative to advance communication between clinicians and care teams.”

The ability to carry out clinical communication in a fast and accurate manner using simple voice commands can increase the efficiency of care team collaboration, reduce the cognitive burden of healthcare professionals, and improve patient care, safety and experience, Lively contended. Hands-free communication is critical in situations when clinicians need to be hands-on, he concluded.

Vocera will be in booth 2959 at HIMSS20.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bill.siwicki@himssmedia.com
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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