Niagara Health Reduces Number of Injuries in Code White Emergencies by 20% – Staff Feel Safer While They Work

By Sandy Traynor, Workplace Relations Manager at Niagara Health and Stevie Christopher, RPN, Information and Communications Technology System Analyst at Niagara Health

Recently, in the emergency department (ED) of one of our hospital sites, a patient became combative with a front-line nurse. The nurse double-tapped the Call button on her Vocera Badge – a wearable communication device – to call a code white, alerting security staff instantly and discretely. The security team rushed to her location, able to hear what was happening on their way to the scene through the Badge, without the nurse needing to say a word to them.

The nurse was unharmed. She said she was grateful she was wearing the Badge.

Several years ago, when we were still using VoIP phones for communication, it would have been difficult or impossible for this nurse to call a code white in this threatening situation. Imagine someone needing to pick up a phone, dial a number, and ask for help while trying to defuse a situation or fend off an aggressor.

This powerful story reminded us of why we use Vocera here at Niagara Health, a 949-bed, multi-site hospital organization in Ontario, Canada. We first deployed the Vocera Badge and mobile app that clinicians use on their personal smartphones in 2016. Staff who work in our EDs, mental health units, and medical floors across our sites find the Badge to be vital in helping them feel safe while they work.

A Unified Approach to Communication

In 2015, our leadership team was evaluating solutions that could provide a unified approach to communication across our sites. We also needed a faster, more reliable way to allow staff to call for help and to prevent potentially violent situations from escalating. During the evaluation process, one of our hospital partners in Ontario recommended Vocera because it makes it easy for all members of the care team to communicate and collaborate in real time. It also enables fast response to all codes including code white.

Sandy Traynor, our workplace relations manager, is the driver and advocate of Vocera technology at Niagara Health. She has been instrumental in making sure all the employees who need Vocera devices have them. Stevie Christopher, who is a nurse in addition to being a systems analyst, supports Vocera across the enterprise, training new users and providing support to users of the technology.

Ingrained in Our Workflows

Vocera technology is ingrained in our workflows. It enhances efficiency and allows our care teams to focus on patient care. We have peace of mind knowing staff are logged into the Vocera system while they’re working because it’s an essential part of how they communicate every day. If a care team member needs to call a code white emergency, we know they’re prepared to do so. The results are measurable: The number of people injured in aggressive incidents since Niagara Health deployed Vocera has decreased by 20%.

Unpredictable things happen all the time in healthcare. Vocera technology helps our staff stay safe, connected, and prepared. We know our staff love it because they have told us, and because they always use it.

Learn About Additional Impact Realized at Niagara Health

Vocera technology helps us unify clinical communications across the enterprise and make staff feel safe. It’s also given physicians a standard, secure way to communicate using their own devices. And in the COVID-19 pandemic, it has helped us conserve PPE while minimizing the spread of infectious disease. We invite you to read all about it in our recent case study1.

Sandy Traynor is a Workplace Relations Manager and Stevie Christopher, RPN, is an Information and Communications Technology System Analyst at Niagara Health, a 949-bed, multi-site hospital organization in Ontario, Canada.

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