Development of a new communication application for a popular smart phone is increasing the efficiency of nurses participating in a pilot program at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, Calif.

Huntington Hospital Nurse Eunie Lee uses the new application.

The hospital issued iPhones to about 40 nurses in one unit at the hospital. The nurses now receive all of their voice, alarm and text messages on the one device because of a new application that consolidates all three functions. The application allows nurses to respond faster to patients and eliminates the need to carry multiple pagers.

Voalte (, a Sarasota, Fla.-based company that specializes in designing software for health care, developed the Voalte One application for the iPhone. The application combines phone calls across a hospital's private bank exchange, text messaging via a visual user directory and user-friendly alarm management. Caregivers can receive and respond to alarms dispatched by more than 200 hospital systems and devices to optimize workflow.

"Our nurses were carrying hospital-provided pagers, wireless phones and separate pagers designed to alert them of critical patient alarms," says Ron Rutherford, R.N., Huntington's director of informatics. "There were too many bells and beeps requiring attention, not to mention their pockets were literally overflowing with electronic devices."

The Voalte One was initially used at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Fla., where a test run generated positive feedback. The nurses lauded the noise-reduction factor along with the convenience of carrying one device. The application has received similar praise from nurses at Huntington.

"We were all very impressed with how the Voalte phones improved communication on our unit," says Eunie Lee, R.N. "With voice capability, prioritized alarm alerts and text messages all available on one device, it has streamlined and simplified communication between staff members. Voalte allows us to focus on nursing care with fewer interruptions. It has been a great asset to our unit."

Huntington plans to issue smart phones and expand use of the Voalte application to nurses in the other 20 units of the hospital by the end of the year.