About three years ago, Trey Lauderdale was working with a telecom equipment company that counted a number of hospitals among its clientèle. He heard that nurses and IT managers were frustrated with the fact that commercially available VoIP handsets were not built to handle all three types of alerts that hospitals use: voice, alarms and text. "The nurses kept saying, 'Why can't we use an iPhone? Why can't we use a BlackBerry?'"
After Apple released the iPhone software developers' kit in March 2008, opening the floodgates for tens of thousands of iPhone apps, Lauderdale and a software engineer he knew quit their jobs and started a company--with the financial backing of Rob Campbell, the entrepreneur who created PowerPoint, and sold it to Microsoft--to make software to send secure pages and other messages behind hospital firewalls to users' personal phones.
The company, called Voalté (pronounced "volt"), set up shop in Sarasota, Fla., a year ago. In June 2009, the company installed its new Voalté One software for a pilot test at Sarasota Memorial Hospital to help nurses find and coordinate information via iPhone. "Text messaging lends itself perfectly to point-of-care communication," Lauderdale tells FierceMobileHealthcare. And all notifications go to a single device, eliminating the "pager tool belt" that weighs down and often confuses clinicians.
Voalté collected feedback from nurses and IT staff at Sarasota Memorial and is tweaking the product now for a January release. A BlackBerry version is in the works, then Lauderdale expects to adapt the software for the Google Android and Windows Mobile platforms.
- read this Voalté press release from October