Effective communication is vital for the success of any business, but for hospitals and other health care facilities, it’s an absolute must. Vocera helps by providing mobile communication solutions that address the most serious communication challenges that health care workers face every day. More than 750 health care organizations use Vocera solutions to function more efficiently.
Sramana Mitra: Hi, Brent. Let’s start with a bit of context. What do you do? What’s unique about the work you do? What are the scope and scale of your company?
Brent Lang: Sure. Vocera is 12 years old. We were founded in February 2000, right after the bubble burst and the market crashed. It looked like a very bleak time for startups, but our founder was a serial entrepreneur. Dr. Shostak started four different companies. He was the CTO at Borland for a number of years and was one of the initial authors of Paradox, which was the early PC-based database application. This was back in the era of Lotus 1-2-3 and that kind of thing. He was inspired to create a new kind of communications solution to help locate and reach mobile workers. Some of the inspiration came from “Star Trek.” The idea was that a mobile worker could connect to the right person and have a conversation by simply pushing a button on his badge and saying the name, role, or function of the person he was trying to reach. As a result, there would be no need to walk up and down halls looking for that person or try to figure out what her phone number is because it would all done using speech recognition.
The company is primarily focused on selling to hospitals. Our goal is to help simplify communications inside a hospital. Hospitals today rely on antiquated communication processes. There’s a lot of running around and walking the halls looking for the right person. It’s kind of a hub-and-spoke approach. If a nurse needs to reach someone, she has to leave the patient’s bedside and walk to the nurse’s station to either use an overhead paging system or telephone. Then she has to wait around and hope that the other person will call back. With Vocera, right from the patient’s bedside, a nurse can just push a button on his Vocera badge, say the name or role or function of the person he wants to reach, and he’s instantly connected to that person. As a result, we’re able to show substantial improvements in productivity, patient satisfaction, and patient safety.
Today, the company has more than 300 employees. We have 800 hospitals and health systems as customers. We’ve also sold to a number of libraries and hotels and even some nuclear power plants. The company went public March 28, 2012. So, we’ve grown to a nice sized public company.