When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, hospitals, doctor’s offices, and clinical labs were thrown into a panic. Especially after the CDC issued specific recommendations for infection control measures— including the round-the-clock use of surgical masks, respirators, medical gloves and gowns—news stations echoed reports of ICU bed and personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages across the country, as the government’s emergency resources lagged behind. As summer 2020 approached and COVID cases continued to rise, healthcare facilities found themselves at the end of the rope.
Even though new and numerous strains of the virus are still with us, now that two years have passed, we have the benefit of hindsight on our side. With it, we now know that any tool that can be used to (1) protect healthcare workers and (2) streamline patient care is one worth investing in. Today, many healthcare facilities are looking to audio monitoring technology with two-way communication to do just that.
Where Humans Can’t…
In October of 2020, the National Library of Medicine published a study that investigated the effect resource shortages had on a hospital’s ability to maximize the quality of care during resurgences and future disasters. The results showed that a measure of global COVID-19 mortality was directly related to hospital resources, personnel, and bed capacity.
In February of 2021, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a report that confirmed this finding and emphasized the importance of implementing coordinated emergency response strategies, in order to strengthen the resiliency of the nation’s healthcare system to respond to public health emergencies.
To address these challenges, many organizations—both private and public—have made moves to incorporate audio technology with two-way communication capabilities into their patient monitoring and security systems, which not only enables healthcare workers to monitor more patients at once, but also protects them from exposure to infectious diseases.
… Audio Can
Where PPE shortages hinder nurses’ ability to monitor multiple patients in critical condition at once, for example, hands-free two-way communication devices, like the Louroe VeriFact 525, enable effortless and contactless communication between a remote area and a Louroe base station, without any risk of exposure.
When integrated with audio analytics, these devices can also detect medical device tones, fits of coughing, and even snoring, allowing nurses to remotely monitor patient rooms using automated alarms and notifications that keep them informed.
When installed in public spaces, such as waiting rooms, nurse stations, and hospital entrances, ceiling-mounted speaker microphones like the Louroe VeriFact 550 can also be used to combat workplace violence. When integrated with audio analytics, these devices can detect aggression in people’s voices, car alarms, broken glass, and even gunshots, allowing hospital security personnel to respond to events more quickly.
Incorporating audio can also provide critical context when investigating an incident, extending peace of mind to a population of employees who have gone too long without it. If a verbal dispute were to break out between patients or an accusation of abuse be leveled against a staff member, audio monitoring technology would not only elucidate what happened in the moment, but also equip and inform security staff to navigate and even anticipate those kinds of situations in the future.
In a world where masks, social distancing, and infectious diseases have seemingly irrevocably changed the ways healthcare spaces operate—audio represents a critical solution for patient monitoring and communications.