As COVID-19 spreads across the globe, many healthcare facilities are looking to bolster their safety measures to protect healthcare workers and patients as they treat individuals battling this easily transmissible disease. While the outbreak of this Coronavirus strain seems unique to many, this is not the first time the United States has dealt with a serious viral outbreak. Medical facilities can study previous incidents to learn best practices to prepare for the possibility of a widespread epidemic.
A recent example we might observe is the 2014 outbreak of Ebola––one of the deadliest diseases mankind has faced. When the World Health Organization categorized the epidemic as a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” in August 2014, hospitals across the U.S. moved quickly to increase safety measures. Acting proactively, one hospital in New York, New York was fast tracked to set up a specialty ward, in case an Ebola patient who arrived at JFK Airport needed to be rushed into care. In order to treat patients fighting an infectious disease, hospital staff needed to set up a system that would enable nurses to safely communicate with patients, as well as with anyone getting prepped to go into a patient’s room.
A Solution to Enhance Safety and Patient Care
To meet this challenge, the hospital installed an advanced audio security system from Louroe Electronics. The solution included three Louroe products:
APR-1,: a single zone, audio monitoring base station with listen-only functionality
TLM-W: a two-way speaker/microphone
AP-1TB: a single zone, audio monitoring base station with listen and talkback capability.
The audio base station was installed at the nurse’s station, while speaker/microphone units were installed on two patient room ceilings. The speaker/microphone units can monitor audio 24/7 in the patient rooms, allowing nurses to listen in at any time. If the nurses wanted to talk with a patient, they pressed the talkback button on their base station, and their words were broadcast through the speakerphone in the patient’s room.
In addition to audio, video management system made by Exacq Technologies was installed as well. One camera was placed in each patient room. While the cameras recorded video, the audio was only used for live monitoring, giving healthcare workers better insight into a patient’s condition without having to enter a quarantined area.
The Value of Audio for Public Healthcare Measures
Carl Schroeder, Director of Electronics at Suffolk Lock & Security Professionals, played a key role in recommending the Louroe solution. Schroeder felt strongly that audio should be a part of a hospital’s overall security solution, especially those taking patients with easily transmissible and deadly illnesses.
In Schroeder’s eyes, Louroe was perfect for the job.
“In this situation, it’s imperative to have audio for the nurses to be able to speak to the patients, while safely keeping them contained in their designated unit,” Schroeder explained. “Louroe’s technology was part of the answer.”
Preparation is key in the domain of medical care. In order for any hospital to properly prepare for such a scenario, it is imperative that management quickly installs a system that accommodates all the needs and precautions inherent in treating patients.
While this infrastructure was crucial for Ebola preparedness in New York City, the need for reliable audio solutions for safe nurse-patient communication is universal to all transmissible virus outbreaks. These audio security solutions enhance public health care initiatives and the fight against diseases across the board.