All sorts of organisations are borrowing ideas from consumer technology.
When she starts her day at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Florida, Danielle Reed picks up a smartphone. It is part of a system provided by Voalté, a start-up created to modify smartphones for doctors and nurses. The phone allows Ms Reed to communicate quickly and easily with her fellow nurses either by calling them or by sending text messages, a number of which are preprogrammed. She can also open specialised apps: one allows her to look up different medicines and their side-effects; another helps her identify pills brought in by patients.
Ms Reed says that the smartphone has other benefits too. She no longer has to carry different devices for making phone calls and receiving alerts, and she can send group text messages, which makes it easier to communicate with all of her colleagues on a ward. The 300 or so phones provided by Voalté (whose name comprises the first two letters of “voice”, “alarm” and “text”) have also helped to make Sarasota Memorial a quieter place for both patients and workers. Before introducing them the hospital often relied on a noisy public paging system to send messages to nurses and other staff. This is now used much less.