Vocera has acquired Toronto-based Wallace Wireless, a competitor that enables healthcare professionals to send pages, text messages, and alerts through their smartphones. Wallace says its system is "secure, reliable, and traceable" and works over both WiFi and cellular networks. Vocera did not disclose the acquisition sum.
Healthcare has proven to be a core vertical for Wallace Wireless, but its offering has found a home in any industry that is weaning off its use of pagers. Wallace counts 200 customer sites across North America in healthcare, finance, public safety and more.
In its press releases, Vocera often quotes the The Joint Commission's patient safety metric about communication breakdowns between healthcare providers: They are estimated to be the "root cause of 65 percent of sentinel events, two-thirds of which have resulted in death," according to the company.
“Ineffective, incomplete, and inaccurate communication is a daunting challenge for care givers striving to provide the highest possible care,” Bob Zollars, Chairman and CEO of Vocera Communications stated in the release. “As a company, we are committed to finding solutions to these points of failure. Each of our four recent acquisitions, including Wallace Wireless, strengthens our portfolio of products and services that analyze, eliminate, or mitigate these communication failure points, and improve the patient experience.”
Wallace Wireless had enjoyed a particularly cozy relationship with both AT&T and BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM). In an interview with MobiHealthNews in June 2009, RIM's head of healthcare Fraser Edward extolled the Wallace Wireless offering:
“There are paging applications on BlackBerry so I can get rid of my old pager and do away with multiple devices," Edward said. "Wallace Wireless has built an enterprise-grade paging application with redundancy so if the data connection isn’t working for some reason there is a fail-over. The application has open APIs, though, so you can pull in data from other systems. Bottom line, it’s just like a pager — workers and others are not getting your private cell phone number — but unlike a pager the open APIs mean you can do so much more. Maybe after receiving a page, the physician will then look up some reference guides or look to collaborate with a colleague over mobile instant message applications. We are working on click-to-call functions so we can facilitate more collaboration.”
Other companies playing in the same sandbox as Vocera and Wallace Wireless include Voalte and Amcom.
Here are some quotes from readers two years ago on How, When and Why smartphones will replace pagers in healthcare.
For more on the Vocera acquisition of Wallace Wireless read the release here