Article | March 1, 2022

Austin Anesthesiology Group Taps Pryme Push-to-Talk Button To Communicate Between Multiple Surgical Suites Using Zello Messaging App


The Medical Director of Austin Anesthesiology Group discovers a new way to communicate with team members in multiple operating rooms during both clean and sterile procedures by using the Pryme® Wireless Push-to-Talk (PTT) Button to activate the Zello instant messaging application

Brea, CA and Austin, TX – January 2022 – In the United States, there are a variety of anesthesia delivery service models in healthcare. The anesthesia care team (ACT) approach pairs physician anesthesiologists (MD) with certified anesthesiologist assistants (CAA) and/or certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA.) In situations where several practitioners work concurrently in multiple surgical suites, communications among team members are crucial. Yet, communicating quickly, unobtrusively, and safely is easier said than done.

With 75 doctors and 130 anesthetists, Austin Anesthesiology Group (AAG) utilizes the ACT model to service five hospitals and 19 ambulatory surgery centers in the Austin area.

Troy W. Gras, MD, Medical Director of AAG said, “On any given day, our team may be working in four different operating rooms (OR) simultaneously. An anesthetist stays in each room while the primary physician anesthesiologist covers all four rooms.”

As an MD, Dr. Gras covers all ORs, while also interviewing patients and preparing for the next procedure at the same time. Managing communications between team members and patients using a cellphone is difficult while wearing a surgical mask, and can also be intrusive when with a patient. Ultimately, Dr. Gras found a solution not commonly used in OR environments.

“Last year, we began using the Zello voice messaging app as a way to communicate operational details between team members,” explained Dr. Gras. “The only problem was, every time I needed to speak on Zello, I had to stop what I was doing to pick up and unlock my phone.”

Recently, he found the answer in the “compatible hardware” section of Zello’s website—The Pryme BT-PTT-ZU Wireless Super Mini Button. It affixes anywhere with a Velcro strap and enables you to speak on Zello with the press of a button.

“I clip the button to my ID badge within easy reach to speak with Zello. To hear messages, I wear earbuds or keep my phone mic side up in the breast pocket of my scrubs.”

The communication system is primarily used in the OR during clean procedures when interviewing or prepping patients. Once wearing sterile gloves, practitioners never touch their phones. However, the wireless PTT Button opened up new communication capabilities during sterile procedures. Now, Dr. Gras simply asks an assistant to press the button on his ID badge when he needs to speak on Zello.

“Pryme’s PTT Button has been a Godsend. If we need to act quickly, the seconds it saves accessing Zello can make a critical difference.”

Following his discovery of this new communication method, Dr. Gras sent an email to all his colleagues saying, “I thought I would share the information in case anybody else has the same problem.”



Headquartered in Brea, CA, PRYME is a foremost manufacturer of specialized mobile communication accessories for professionals in every industry sector. PRYME designs, engineers and builds premium quality wireless and wired audio accessory, which support virtually every two-way radio model and push-to-talk over cellular application. PRYME is known for innovating new technologies and for developing customized products for almost any end-user need. PRYME President and Chief Technologist Dave George is an industry thought leader who has been published extensively, holds 29 patents and is the inventor of multiple award-winning PRYME products. Learn more at Follow PRYME on Facebook and LinkedIn.

About Zello
Zello is a comprehensive live-voice-centered communications solution, including an integrated, enterprise-grade dispatch hub and an industry-leading voice messaging app for frontline teams. With Zello, turn iOS, Android, and Windows devices into walkie-talkies that can also record messages, track location, issue real-time emergency alerts, and make live voice communications safe and reliable amid complex operations and everyday logistics. Current customers include PepsiCo, Bechtel, the Salling Group, Connections, Lufthansa, Hyatt, YRC Freight, Hilton, Cemex, and Lafarge Holcim. Zello is recognized as one of the most reliable communication tools for mobile workers by The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CBS, CNBC, USA Today, and TechCrunch.

About Dr. Troy W. Gras, MD and Austin Anesthesiology Group

TroyDr. Troy W Gras, MD specializes in anesthesiology in Austin, TX and has over 21 years of experience in the field of medicine. He graduated from Mayo Medical School with his medical degree in 2000. He is affiliated with numerous hospitals in Texas, including North Austin Medical Center, St. David’s Medical Center, Round Rock Medical Center, and others. Dr. Gras is Medical Director at Austin Anesthesiology Group (AAG), part of North American Partners in Anesthesia (NAPA.) AAG is a physician group practice that provides comprehensive adult and pediatric anesthesia services in Austin, Texas.