Health care . . . the new frontier.
These are the voyages of South Okanagan General Hospital . . . to explore medical advances and seek out new technology . . . to go where no staff have gone before.
Okay, they aren’t blasting off into space, but they will usher in a new high-tech communication system that will enhance patient care significantly.
It’s called the Vocera System, an electronic device worn on the collar (or a lanyard) that staff can use to call or receive calls without leaving a patient’s bedside. For example, if a nurse needs to talk to another health care professional, she (or he) merely activates the device that contacts the person over a wireless network.
Sherry Uribe, health services administrator at SOGH, said the technology is a significant step for the facility.
“It’s technology at its greatest new level to help us provide better patient care.”
Uribe said if a staff member needs equipment, they don’t need to leave the patient’s side to get it; they merely use the Vocera device to have someone deliver it. If there is an emergency with a patient or an issue of safety involving a staff member, help is only a click away.
Also, Uribe said their long-term goal at SOGH is to eliminate the paging system that some people find disruptive.
Uribe said the Vocera System will take time to implement, noting they plan to start ordering the devices in April.
She commended the South Okanagan Health Care Auxiliary for committing $100,000 towards the project, which is expected to cost $230,000.
Doris Gaines, president of the auxiliary, said this is the most money the ladies have ever donated to a single project.
“I think it’s great . . . we have the money; we’ve been saving.”
Gaines said they have done very well in the thrift shop during the past year, saying the auxiliary is definitely not broke.
Janice Perrino from the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation expressed her amazement that the auxiliary “didn’t blink an eye” when it offered the donation.
She joked by saying the ladies had to sell a lot of 25-cent items in the thrift shop to raise that kind of money.
Perrino likened the Vocera System to something straight out of Star Trek. “You just touch it and voice your needs . . . you don’t have to pick up a phone. In a small rural hospital like Oliver, it can be life-saving.”