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Misery Loves Company

We’ve all heard the term “Misery loves company.” It is typically used in a way that suggests that people who are unhappy like to be with other people that are unhappy or that people who are miserable wish others ill will. But what if “misery loves company” meant something else 33827079 - patient using digital tablet while reclining on hospital bedcompletely, and that understanding the phrase better could generate better patient outcomes in healthcare?

The answer to the “misery loves company” riddle, may have just been solved. Recent research has shown that a group of brain cells called “mirror neurons” may play a key role. They are activated when we experience emotions ourselves, but also when we watch others go through an emotional state. The vicarious experience actually makes the mirror neurons fire in our brains creating a similar emotional state in us. It is the physiological manifestation of empathy, and it also helps explain why film and plays may be so cathartic and riveting.

From a healthcare perspective, knowing this is a huge benefit, especially from a facility’s visitors policy perspective. Creating ways for patients to have positive interactions with their friends and loved ones can have a direct impact on their health, recovery, and ultimately their happiness.

“So during and after a visit from a loving and cheerful friend or relation, mirror neurons will stir similar positive feelings in the brain of the person in the hospital bed, lifting their spirits and making them feel better.”

In fact, Dr Matthew Ratcliffe of Durham University goes even further to assert that,

By being with someone who has a smiling face — such as a hospital visitor — mirror neurons motivate a similar response in our own brain, leading us to make a similar gesture and even directing us towards a similar emotional reaction.”

So creating ways for patients to interact with family and friends and lowering the barriers to those interactions can have an impact on the patient’s happiness as well as how they perceive their medical condition. Given that a happy patient is a satisfied patient, and currently more and more healthcare payments are being tied to patient satisfaction and positive outcomes, it is to the healthcare provider’s advantage to find ways to lower the barrier to these interactions. Many hospitals have already expanded their visitation hours to better accommodate patients’ family and friends. Chris Clarke, who oversees the Tennessee Hospital Association’s Center for Patient Safety relays that “There is a renewed focus on patient-focused care that means better engaging with patients’ families.”

Visitation policies only go so far as they only apply to family and friends who can physically make it to the physical location. However the absence of a loved one can likewise have a negative effect on the patient’s recovery.

“Meanwhile, friends failing to turn up for a visit could actually be bad for the patient.

Not only are they deprived of the benefits of loving contact but their feelings of rejection activate the very areas of the brain that generate the sting of physical pain.”

-Daniel Goleman, author of Social Intelligence: The New Science Of Human Relationships

This is where technology can play a key role. High definition video conferencing systems, installed in patient rooms, offer another way for patients and their friends and family to connect. Given that the mirror neurons respond to observing the emotions of a patient’s visitor, the video component is actually key in generating a positive emotional state.

Video conferencing provides the experience of an in person visit, eliminates the awkwardness that can sometimes accompany a traditional phone call, and most importantly, can leave the patient feeling just as happy as they would in the case of an in-person visit due to the brain’s physiological reaction.

The benefits of video conferencing in remote patient diagnosis, increased access to specialists, and to higher quality care in rural areas have been well known for some time. However, there is an additional benefit to these systems in the case of providing communication between patients and loved ones in their time of need, resulting in better patient satisfaction.

It seems that in a scientific sense, misery does indeed love company, not to spread the negative, but rather to replace it with the positive.

HealthAV is revolutionizing the way healthcare facilities and doctors are delivering care. TeleHealth Services and Avidex divisions of Telerent Leasing Corporation, are pleased to announce the emergence of HealthAV, excellence in Healthcare Professional AV design and system integration services. Connect with one of our Account Executives today to learn more.

healthcare

Resources:

#1: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-410783/The-proof-visiting-people-hospital-really-does-good.html

#2: http://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2013/07/02/patient-satisfaction-hits-physician-pay/#53b7241e133f

 

#3: http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/healthcare/hospitals-expand-visiting-hours-to-accommodate-patients-families

Bob Higginbotham

About Bob Higginbotham

Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at bobh@avidexav.com

3 Tips for Better Wayfinding in the Modern Healthcare Facility

49213316 - spacious waiting room in a modern clinicWhen most people think of a hospital or a medical facility, the first thing that comes to mind is not design. However the modern healthcare facility is no longer permeated by sterile white walls, industrial grade linoleum floors, and stainless steel sinks as its primary design cues. Design is now an integral part of healthcare. If you don’t believe me, take a look at modern waiting rooms and patient rooms. They utilize soothing colors, cutting edge materials, and innovative technology to soothe anxiety and provide comfort to their patients and their visitors.

Design has even permeated places like radiology rooms. GE Healthcare has a whole division dedicated to design, creating environments like adventure rooms in children’s hospitals that make nerve racking procedures like MRIs more palatable for children.

However, design in healthcare today doesn’t stop at the doorway of the “rooms” within the facility, but extends into the hallways, passageways, and breezeways that connect all the areas as well. Nowhere is this design more important than in the category of wayfinding.

Wayfinding includes traditional environmental signage, like the color coded signs that depict room numbers and room types and also includes digital wayfinding and technology design as well. A properly designed wayfinding system will utilize both the analog and digital counterparts and is key in creating comfort in a foreign environment.

“Airports and hospitals have one very important thing in common: Lots of anxious visitors trying to find their way, many of whom have never (or rarely) been there.”

An investment in good wayfinding can greatly reduce anxiety for both visitors and patients, assuring that family and friends can be connected as quickly and as easily as possible in what is typically an already stressful situation.

Here are 3 opportunities for using technology in your wayfinding design to provide exceptional experiences to your patients and their friends and families.

  1. Interactive Kiosks- Go to any mall in America and you’ll find a Directory with a “you are here” star denoting your location as well as the locations of every store in the mall. An interactive kiosk in your healthcare facility takes that concept and kicks it up a notch. Visitors can come into the facility, approach the kiosk and search for their loved one by name, locate their room, and then get directions to that part of the facility based on their current location. If your facility also utilizes a patient tracking system, data from that system can also be leveraged to let visitors know that the patient may be in a different location or unavailable during testing etc.
  2. Digital Signage- Healthcare facilities are already using traditional environmental signage to denote departments, floors, specialties, etc within their facilities, as well as note room numbers and designations. Given that, what is the advantage of utilizing a digital signage system? Small displays outside each patient room can denote the patient’s name so that visitors find them easier. Signs in hallways or above departments can be changed easily to accurately describe the current use of the space. Upcoming events, department schedules, and other important information can all be updated to inform patients, staff and visitors about important events.
  3. App Based Navigation- Healthcare facilities like the Mayo Clinic are also leveraging personal devices in their wayfinding. Specialized mapping apps that utilize location services in the devices can give visitors and patients a turn by turn walkthrough of the facility, assuring they reach their destination as intended. The app also extends beyond the clinic to help users find accommodations and restaurants during their visit to the facility.

As you can see, adding a digital component to wayfinding can add flexibility and detail that environmental signage cannot easily offer. The digital component is meant to supplement traditional signage or volunteer and staff assistance, not replace it. Technology design doesn’t stop at the waiting or patient room, it extends to every passage way of the facility. A properly implemented digital wayfinding system can reduce anxiety and frustration for patients and visitors and increase overall patient satisfaction, which is always a good thing.

Avidex AV is revolutionizing the way healthcare facilities and doctors are delivering care. Their 20 years of experience is being leveraged to drive down the cost of care while promoting positive healthcare outcomes. Is your organization looking for a new kind of technology partner? Connect with one of our Account Executives today to learn more.

Resources:

#1: http://www.healthcaredesignmagazine.com/blogs/kristin-zeit/hospital-wayfinding-and-anxiety-factor

#2: http://newsroom.gehealthcare.com/scienceandempathy/

#3: http://blog.avidex.com/patient-tracking-systems-reducing-the-cost-of-healthcare-and-waiting-room-anxiety/

#4: http://www.healthcarefacilitiestoday.com/posts/Digital-wayfinding-improves-hospital-navigation-patient-experience–1382

Carey Cox

About Carey Cox

Carey Cox has spent his 17 year career in various roles within the health care industry including sales, consulting, and operations management. Carey has been involved in a number of capital system sales roles including life safety, infant security, audio-visual, and clinical education. He had operational oversight of two Baylor pain management centers and served on various committees for Baylor Health Care System in Dallas. His internal knowledge of health care operations, his leadership experience and his ability to build and strengthen relationships give him a unique insight into clinical workflow and process throughput. Carey holds a Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration and also volunteers in a mentoring program for young adults entering into the workforce. During his tenure at TeleHealth Services, he has been instrumental in expanding the TeleHealth footprint in Dallas-Ft Worth (Methodist Health System) and Houston (CHI St. Luke’s Health and Memorial Hermann) health care markets.

The Role of Technology in Patient Satisfaction

There has been a recent shift in healthcare from a fee-for-service environment to a pay-for-performance model.  The shift is a good one in most people’s eyes as it focuses more on the patient and the actual results than it does the provider and their services.20984020 - happy couple looking at digital tablet held by doctor  The performance of a healthcare provider is now evaluated based on patient outcomes (70%) and patient satisfaction (30%) and payments are dependent on performance in both areas.  Due to this, healthcare providers are more focused on patient satisfaction, at least from a metrics standpoint, than ever before.  “In fact, more than half (54%) of healthcare executives say patient experience and satisfaction is one of their top three priorities.”  

So how is patient experience data gathered and reported?  Enter the HCAHPS survey.  What is that you ask?  “The HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) survey is the first national, standardized, publicly reported survey of patients’ perspectives of hospital care.”  It is a required survey in all hospitals now, and the answers patients give matter to the payments received.

There have been many studies on the impact that nurses and physicians have on patient satisfaction.  Nothing will ever do more for generating comfort than the human touch and a great bedside manner.  However, technology can play an important role in assisting the caregiver and increasing patient satisfaction in 3 important ways.

Reducing Anxiety and Pain

Nothing is more stressful than being in a foreign place where you feel alone and helpless.  Moving from the patient room to multiple locations in the facility for radiology, MRIs, blood panels and the like make the experience even more bewildering and uncomfortable.  Add to that a sterile white wall or ceiling with nothing to look at and an ear ringing silence and you have nothing to focus on BUT the procedure and itself and any pain and discomfort that may go along with it.

Audio visual technology has been shown to decrease patient anxiety in many procedures, with the combination of soothing sounds and visuals together being greater than the sum of their parts.  According to one study in this arena:

“The presentation of audiovisual stimuli during a medical examination, can reduce anxiety and consequently enhance the overall patient experience.  Visual and auditory stimuli decreased pain, stress and anxiety… reduced discomfort and distress…and  significantly increased pain threshold and pain tolerance.”

The other way to decrease patient anxiety through the use of technology may not be as obvious, but is just as valuable.  Patient Education Systems.  Nothing can assist the physician or nurse in explaining a potentially complicated medical procedure better than a short video or computer animation that can be accessed in the patient room on the TV.  Providing visual aides before a procedure to help the patient understand the upcoming treatment can greatly reduce fear of the unknown and give the patient peace of mind.

Providing Access and Control

Given how central the act of communication is to the human experience, there are many questions on the HCAHPS survey that ask about communication between the patient and staff.  Communication can have a profound effect on the impression a patient has of their care, regardless of whether or not their ailment is treated properly.  Patients also find some level of comfort in having some control.  Being hospitalized leaves many feeling helpless and providing some sense of control to patients alleviates this feeling.  In both cases providing the patient with access to both staff and information fulfill these needs.

If a patient has a direct line to the nurse’s station via the call button, creating a video call between the attendant and themselves they can take comfort in the fact that they can express their needs.  In cases where specialists may be shared between facilities, patients can also access staff for detailed questions and concerns remotely and efficiently without the barriers of travel time between locations.  Finally, access to information on treatments and control of entertainment options during down time also help provide access and control when needed.

Increasing Communication

Finally, technology also assists in providing more positive patient impressions at the time of discharge.  Patient Education Systems as described above allow patients to review discharge instructions, at home treatments, and follow up visit schedules at their leisure when they are most receptive to receiving the information.  It has also been shown that information is retained much longer and more accurately when it is presented both visually and audibly.  Training organizations like OSHA have long understood this phenomenon in promoting better understanding and retention of information.  In this case, it means the chances of readmissions also go down, and the digital nature of the information sharing also creates the added bonus of a record of communicating the information to the patient to mitigate any future liability as well.

As you can see, although technology will most likely never be able to replace the human element of patient satisfaction, it can greatly assist the healthcare practitioner in making sure their patients are at ease and are well informed both about the procedures they are about to undergo as well as how to best care for themselves once they are back in the comfort of their own homes.  Never before has bedside manner been tied in such a way to the payment of healthcare services, and a small investment in some assistive technology can make the difference in how a patient remembers the experience as a whole.

Avidex AV is revolutionizing the way healthcare facilities and doctors are delivering care. Their 20 years of experience is being leveraged to drive down the cost of care while promoting positive healthcare outcomes. Is your organization looking for a new kind of technology partner? Connect with one of our Account Executives today to learn more.

Resources:

#1: https://apihealthcare.com/sites/default/files/MC_CL_PAS_PPA_0000000001.pdf

#2: http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/quality/4-strategies-to-boost-hospitals-hcahps-scores.html

#3: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/811356_2

#4: http://www.hcahpsonline.org/home.aspx

#5: http://www.rufwork.com/110/mats/oshaVisualAids.html

Anthony Paoletti

About Anthony Paoletti

Anthony brings over 23 years of audiovisual experience and has worn nearly every "hat" in the industry; from Consultant to End User; Account Representative to Install Technician; Project Manager to Systems Engineer. Contact Anthony at apaoletti@avidexav.com

“Are You Not Entertained?”

If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night or found yourself home from work sick, you know how difficult it can be to find something42402604 - senior female patient watching tv in hospital bed worthwhile on television. The experience is usually marked by listless channel surfing before you settle on a movie you’ve seen 18 times only to realize that every 10 minutes the movie pauses to launch into a 5 minute commercial break. At home fortunately you are not confined to one room or a bed, and you have access to other entertainment options like a favorite DVD or book. Imagine however you find yourself in a hospital bed, connected to medical equipment with nothing to focus your attention on but the TV hanging in the corner. In the past, this may have been a source of patient anxiety, but in today’s high tech world, it doesn’t have to be that way.

The modern medical facility has a great number of options when it comes to providing an “at home” entertainment experience to their patients. Gone are the days when an off-air antenna or a stack of cable boxes in the basement provided a few channels of content to patient rooms over coax. The patient entertainment experience can now be highly customizable and individualized. This allows the healthcare facility to offer more patient amenities similar to the hospitality industry.

An investment in a comprehensive visual communications solution provides the following advantages:

High Definition Programming- Nothing says, “I’m not at home”, more than a 19” TV up in the corner playing a static ridden rerun of The Brady Bunch. HD displays combined with HD content are familiar and a default patient expectation.

Diverse Channel Line Ups- Whether you choose IPTV, Direct TV, or cable, new systems allow the healthcare provider to create customized channel line-ups that best reflect the needs of their diverse patient population.

Customized Content- Need to share menu information around hospital meal options, general material on hospital offerings, or important accreditation communications? Facilities can create their own channels to share this news and more.

Patient-Specific Information- Provide easy, on-demand access to information, after-care instructions, and discharge information that patients can review at their own pace and frequency and create a digital record for your hospital files for reduction of liability and accreditation purposes. Hospitals can automate the delivery of this information by interfacing with their EMR, providing another way to leverage their existing investment.

On-Demand Entertainment- No more starting a movie in the middle and then watching an equal amount of commercials. Choose from an extended library of movies and shows just like you would at home.

Relaxation- Nothing provides a more optimal healing environment more than your soothing music and calming imagery. Modern systems offer access to this programming because a reduction of stress is shown to promote positive medical outcomes.

Not every patient has an iPad at their side and even if they did, the WiFi would have a hard time keeping up. A well planned, integrated visual communications system allows healthcare facilities to leverage existing investments in healthcare televisions and infrastructure, while providing a more reliable and universally accessible way for patients to pass the time while hospitalized. Add in the benefits of providing on-demand patient education, and you will be providing an experience that also reduces readmissions and empowers your patients in the recovery process. It’s a winning solution for both the facility and the patient.

Avidex AV is revolutionizing the way healthcare facilities and doctors are delivering care. Their 20 years of experience is being leveraged to drive down the cost of care while promoting positive healthcare outcomes. Is your organization looking for a new kind of technology partner? Connect with one of our Account Executives today to learn more.

Resources:

#1: https://www.quora.com/Why-do-hospitals-feel-like-prisons-sometimes

#2: http://blog.avidex.com/from-hospital-to-hospitality-how-does-your-facility-rate/

#3: http://www.telehealth.com/television-solutions/patient-programming

#4: http://blog.avidex.com/how-healthy-is-your-technology-experience/

Jeff Miller

About Jeff Miller

Jeff has been working in the professional AV integration industry for over twenty years. During that time he has served as Designer, Project Manager and/or Account Executive for hundreds of projects. As an Account Executive at Avidex, he specializes in Medical, Education, and Control Rooms. He can be reached at jmiller@avidex.com

Up with Telemedicine. Down with Healthcare Costs.

I hate paying too much for anything. Just ask my family and friends. When I need gas, I will drive out of my way to save three cents and use my rewards card to get three Telemedicinemore, saving a total of six cents on every gallon. My vehicle holds 16 gallons, so I saved less than a buck, 96 cents, searching for a cheaper place to buy gas.

When somebody asks me why, my instinct is to say “because I saved money!” But in reality, did the extra driving really save me anything?  Is going to the first place that has gas, paying a buck more, really that bad? To me it is, and that is why I do it. It makes me feel better.

In the health care world, we compare prices, talk about deductions, worry about our out of pocket…when in reality, we just really need to go see the doctor because we are not feeling good and have a need. We just need to go to make us feel better!

We rely on the government and insurance companies to keep the cost down…any way possible. So then why don’t they allow telemedicine to be paid when we want to use it? Why can’t I feel better at my place of employment, my home, a retail center? Why do I have to go see my doctor as HIS place, and not at mine?  We know that studies show that using telemedicine drives the cost of service down, but why won’t EVERY company provide coverage for it?

The debate has gone on long enough…time to man up and do what is right and cover the service. At least that is my feeling, because it makes me feel better. Sorry, low on gas, got to see who has the best price today and fill it up!

If there is one thing that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has shown us, it is that despite driving down costs of care, insurance premiums have continued to rise. It seems that just leveraging buying power by adding new consumers into the market place has not made a positive impact at the actual patient level when it comes to costs. The average total family healthcare premium has risen to about 23% of median income in employer provided plans. Even in the analysis of a handpicked plan on the insurance exchange, an example you could argue shows the best possible scenario, healthcare costs have essentially failed to decrease nationwide.

Considering that the tax penalty for NOT having healthcare is only 2.5% of income and that an individual can now buy insurance AFTER an event requiring treatment it is not surprising that many are threatening not to buy healthcare until it is needed. That would create a downward spiral, where less people paying in means costs continue to rise. Combine that with the fact that millions of people are being added into the existing medical system. Doctors’ time now becomes a rare commodity, and the perfect storm for ever-rising healthcare costs is definitely brewing. That is unless we deliver care more effectively in a way that costs less and creates efficiencies in how we use our doctors’ time.

Telemedicine drives down the cost of delivering care. It’s not in dispute. Whether you are a patient seeking a remote consultation, a provider needing access to resources from another provider like a specialist to read an MRI, or a hospital looking to reduce readmissions and potential fines, telemedicine is the answer. Studies show reduction of costs in all these areas and more.

Traditional concerns about the potential reimbursement of telemedicine and the privacy and quality of care delivered of remote services are quickly fading into the background. Legislation has and is continuing to assure that telemedicine will be covered by insurance plans and that healthcare facilities. Technology hardware and software providers as well as web-based communication platforms are delivering HIPPA compliant encryption to assure the privacy of patient information. Remote sensors of the wearable, implantable, and even ingestible variety are enabling physicians to gather, store and analyze biometric information to deliver state of the art care.

The environment for rapid adoption of telemedicine has never been better, especially given that most Americans are now comfortable with receiving care this way. People talk to their grandchildren, support highly technical products, and conduct multi-million dollar deals over video teleconferencing today. Why wouldn’t they conduct their routine healthcare visits in the same manner? The answer is that they would, they just need to be paired up with providers embracing the technology. Given that, a small investment in today’s technology is the perfect way to not only find new patients, but also to help drive down the cost of care long term, which helps everyone.

Avidex AV is revolutionizing the way healthcare facilities and doctors are delivering care. Their 20 years of experience is being leveraged to drive down the cost of care while promoting positive healthcare outcomes. Is your organization looking for a new kind of technology partner? Connect with one of our Account Executives today to learn more.

 

Resources:

#1: http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/data-mine/2014/12/09/workers-are-spending-more-of-their-income-on-employer-health-insurance

#2: http://kff.org/health-reform/fact-sheet/analysis-of-2016-premium-changes-in-the-affordable-care-acts-health-insurance-marketplaces/

#3: http://www.americantelemed.org/docs/default-source/policy/examples-of-research-outcomes—telemedicine’s-impact-on-healthcare-cost-and-quality.pdf

#4: http://blog.avidex.com/telemedicine-a-428-million-silver-bullet/

#5: http://blog.avidex.com/the-telephone-bill-you-actually-want/

#6: http://blog.avidex.com/just-browsing-webrtc-for-healthcare/

#7: http://blog.avidex.com/what-is-it-and-why-is-it-good-for-healthcare/

Bob Higginbotham

About Bob Higginbotham

Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at bobh@avidexav.com

“Lobbying” for Better Patient Experiences

“What’s the difference between a Dentist and a Sadist? A Sadist has newer magazines.” –Jerry Seinfeld

The quality of entertainment in waiting rooms and medical lobbies in the past has been suspect at best. Old magazines, Reader’s Digest, and medical pamphlets strewn across a couple of end tables in a white room with fluorescent lights were the norm and an easy target for jokes. However, there was little correlation that could be drawn between the potential quality of care and some old magazines, so this was easy to overlook and make the subject of a joke or two. However, in today’s world of technology intensive medicine, ushospital lobby 2ing subpar technology in these spaces is no joking matter.

We’ve always heard that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. The patient experience starts when a new patient makes an appointment, and usually the next impression is formed in your facility’s lobby. You may be thinking that the quality of the doctor can easily overcome any impression the new patient may get from their lobby experience.

But is that completely true?

Granted, no amount of effort spent in lobby design can overcome the anchor of an inept physician. However, in today’s world of healthcare, where medicine and it’s doctors depend on an assortment of high tech equipment to properly diagnose and treat their patients, can a low tech lobby send the wrong impression about the provider’s investments in technology?

Here are some tips for using technology in your lobby in a way that will assure your patients have a lasting first impression that is in line with your commitment to modern medicine and exceptional patient outcomes.

  1. Keep it neat. This may seem like the most ridiculous tip to start with, but experience in visiting medical lobbies around the country will tell you it is very often overlooked. People pay attention to lobbies. There are even Pinterest pages dedicated to them for goodness sake. One of the worst things to do is to invest in technology, and then have it installed crooked with cables hanging down and the satellite box and or media player sitting precariously unsecured on top of the sagging mounting hardware. It may leave your patient thinking that attention to detail is low here or “I hope they don’t leave stuff hanging out of me after surgery.” If you are investing in technology, invest in the proper installation by a professional to go with it. It makes a huge difference. 
  2. Set the tone. The lobby design game has officially been “upped”. There is more to using technology in these spaces than hanging a couple TVs playing Judge Judy. Lobby design today considers everything form calming patients’ fears to creating privacy areas to supporting their mental and spiritual needs. Invest in things like quality audio, sound masking technology, customized lighting, and unique content on your screens that help set this tone. 
  3. Get engaged. The best way to create a memorable experience is to get the patient involved. There may be a high level of anxiety or curiosity about your practice and/or the upcoming experience. Use technology in a way that helps satisfy this curiosity and allay any concerns. An interactive facility map that highlights research areas or high tech laboratories, digital collages of patient testimonials and positive outcomes, or even a video introduction to your doctors and their education and specialties are all great places to start.
  4.  Think outside the rectangle. If you invest in technology in the ways suggested above, you need to make sure that patients are drawn to it. Everyone has a 4” HD screen in their pocket, so a plain TV on the wall may not garner much attention. Think of using arrays of screens to make larger canvases or even unique shapes and aspect ratios that beckon patients and reinforces the unique nature of your practice instead of leaving patients “to their own devices”.
  5. Make it personal and portable. Remember that 4” HD screen in everyone’s pocket? Use it to your advantage. Create unique ties from your lobby technology experience to those devices to make data portable and easily accessible for future reference.

Remember that technology today is all around us, and our experiences with it are getting increasingly more elegant. The technology in the lobby area should mirror the commitment to technology in other areas of the facility and practice. Just as much thought should be put into the technology in these spaces as was put into the decision to buy a euro-inspired espresso machine for the lobby instead of that truck-stop coffee pot. First impressions still matter. Make yours positive and lasting.

Avidex AV is revolutionizing the way healthcare facilities and doctors are delivering care. Their 20 years of experience is being leveraged to drive down the cost of care while promoting positive healthcare outcomes. Is your organization looking for a new kind of technology partner? Connect with one of our Account Executives today to learn more.

Resources:

#1: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/medical-office-design/

#2: http://www.hfmmagazine.com/display/HFM-news-article.dhtml?dcrPath=/templatedata/HF_Common/NewsArticle/data/HFM/Magazine/2015/Jun/last%20detail-design

#3: http://www.catamaranrx.com/Insights/Innovation-Center/

#4: http://www.bdcnetwork.com/4-hospital-lobbies-provide-healthy-perspective

Bob Higginbotham

About Bob Higginbotham

Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at bobh@avidexav.com

dr looking at monitor

Cracking the Code of State-of-the-Art Hospital Communication

A patient is rapidly transported into the ER.  He was stabilized by the paramedics on the way to the hospital and is immediately placed in the ICU.  The staff efficiently transfers him from the gurney to his bed and hooks him back up to the heart and respiratory monitors.  Then something goes wrong.  The patient’s heart stops.  The attending ER nurse rushes to her station, picks up her phone, and calls for a “code blue” response.

There’s only one problem, no one heard it because the emergency notification system was not designed properly.

In today’s world of high tech medicine, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the advancements technology is bringing to our hospitals.  It really is an amazing time and something to behold.  However, the need to communicate effectively and efficiently is still at the core of providing essential care.

There are really two main parts to effective and efficient communication.  The first part is to make sure that all of the staff is speaking the same language.  Hospitals use a “color code” system to communicate different events within their facility and to trigger the proper response.  In the past many codes varied from facility to facility making that communication system inefficient and confusing at times.  To give a relevant true story:

“A hospital per diem nurse, employed by two different hospitals, began her shift to find that one of her patients had gone into cardiac arrest. She responded quickly by picking up the phone and announcing “code blue”. Within minutes she was surrounded by security guards and police officers with weapons in hand. To her dismay, the nurse was informed that code blue is a security alert in this facility. In her other place of employment, it means cardiac arrest. The correct team was quickly brought to the bedside and the patient recovered.”

This story illustrates two things.

First, it shows the need for some standardization in the color code system at least regionally for hospitals.  Hospitals in Washington, Oregon, and California are working on standardizing these codes for more effective communication and to minimize confusion for staff that may work in multiple facilities.

Second, even though the nurse gave the wrong code in the above example, something went right. 

The emergency notification and code announcement system worked.  The proper response for that hospital was implemented based on the code the nurse gave. This can only happen if the notification and code announcement system is designed properly.  So what are the core features of a state-of-the-art system?

Access

In order to be able to initiate a color code alert you first need a way to access the system.  Having multiple, convenient handsets or paging devices at nurse’s stations and other key areas assure the hospital staff will have the ability to communicate a color code and initiate a response.

Delivery

Once a code is initiated, there must be some way to communicate it to the rest of the staff for proper response.  The delivery system usually consists of public address (PA) speakers and sometimes may even include a method of alerting staff on personal mobile devices as well.

Coverage

A system that includes PA speakers must have the proper coverage.  The coverage is determined by the ceiling heights, area needing to be covered, and coverage pattern of the speakers.

Intelligibility

Even if everything above is all in place, the system is worthless if the staff cannot understand the codes being communicated.  Intelligibility is key and may be one of the trickier parts of the puzzle.  The Speech Transmission Index (STI) helps rate the intelligibility of speech delivered.  In a hospital environment, there is little opportunity to redesign the space or add acoustic treatments to the hard, sanitary surfaces.  For this reason having equipment that can be adjusted for background noise levels and audio frequency responses is dually important.

At the end of the day, hospitals rely on efficient and effective communication to provide exceptional care and ultimately save lives.  First get all the staff on the same page, then make sure you have a state-of-the-art emergency notification and code announcement system.

For more than 20 years Avidex AV has provided innovative technologies that drive business outcomes for our clients. Is your organization looking for a new kind of technology partner? Connect with one of our Account Executives today to learn more.

 

Resources:

#1:  http://www.hasc.org/resource/hospital-emergency-codes

#2:  http://www.wsha.org/files/82/codeseducationslides.ppt

#3:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speech_transmission_index

 

Bob Higginbotham

About Bob Higginbotham

Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at bobh@avidexav.com

The Importance of Using an AV Integrator that Specializes In AV Healthcare vs. a General AV Integrator Firm

operating room with displaysAudiovisual services are very important for a wide array of organizations, from educational institutions to private corporations. However, healthcare facilities in particular need an AV solution in place that is designed specifically for their own unique needs. It is important that medical doctors, nurses, and administrators get help from an AV integrator that specializes in AV healthcare instead of using a generalized AV provider that might not be very familiar with the world of healthcare. This will help medical professionals ensure that their AV systems are being applied the right way.

Applications For AV Systems In Healthcare

While audiovisual services are helpful for promoting communication and learning among all kinds of companies and individuals, in the world of healthcare the right AV systems could quite literally be the difference between life and death. There are several common applications for AV systems in the healthcare field:

• Hosting virtual meetings between doctors and medical professionals that may not be in the same physical location but still need to discuss important healthcare issues that impact their practice
• Providing patients and their family members with key information about a patient’s vitals, medication needs, and current status within the facility
• Allowing medical doctors and their nurses and other colleagues to discuss an operation or other type of procedure with each other while it is taking place, through cameras and microphones that can be placed in operating theaters and exam rooms

Because AV is used so frequently in crucial healthcare applications, it is important that you retain help from an AV integrator that specializes in AV healthcare. Why should you seek out an AV specialist that understands the specific challenges that are involved with healthcare AV, as opposed to finding a general AV company? Several reasons:

• An AV integrator that specializes in AV healthcare understands the specific kinds of communications that doctors and their team members need to have with each other in order to successfully provide patient care. They know the way information like patient charts, medical codes, and physician diagnoses needs to be formatted, transmitted, and received.
• Because of their past experience with the healthcare field, an AV integrator that specializes in AV healthcare will be able to understand what specific kinds of systems are most suitable for healthcare needs and how to set up and troubleshoot these systems.
• AV companies that specialize in healthcare work usually are also familiar with software companies and other relevant vendors, which means they can guide management and administrators in the right direction if they are setting up a new healthcare facility or completely overhauling an existing audiovisual system.

According to InfoComm, a well-known audiovisual trade association, healthcare is the quickest-growing North American market for AV systems. The fast development of technology along with recent changes in healthcare laws and an aging population of baby boomers means that hospitals, outpatient clinics, and rehabilitation centers all need to have high-performing AV systems in place. An AV specialist with a focus on the field of healthcare will be able to provide your healthcare facility with the advice and technical service needed to keep all elements of your AV system running smoothly.

Bob Higginbotham

About Bob Higginbotham

Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at bobh@avidexav.com

9 Benefits of Video Capture for Medical Schools

WSU Control Room1Technology is critical in healthcare. This is becoming increasingly true for medical schools where students learn skills needed to become productive healthcare professionals. Video capture systems are proving to be an effective way to enhance the teaching and learning process for several reasons:

Students Can Watch Procedures and Lectures Any Time
Class lectures and activities can easily be recorded and exported into various digital video formats via a variety of cameras and software programs available nowadays. Within minutes of a live recording, video can be encoded into a compressed video file format and stored on a computer server so that it can be played back by users with password protected access via laptops, tablets, or smart phones from anywhere with a network connection.

Instructors Can Watch Groups Simultaneously or Non-Linearly
Break-out activities and group work are common in medical schools. Video capture systems allow teachers to monitor one specific group or all groups in the activity, either live or after the exercise.

Professors Can Offer Feedback in Multiple Ways
Feedback from instructors during the video playback of an activity can be recorded onto another video during a debriefing session including instructor’s comments. Students can log on after class anytime and watch videos including their instructor’s comments. This reinforces the learning.

manicanVideo Clips Can Be Tagged For Quick Reference
Video clips can be saved and categorized to create a library of lectures and other instructional videos. They can be tagged based on their content, making them easy to search for later. This feature can also be used to organize a video-based study guide.

Large Groups Can Watch Procedures in Small Rooms
Many medical procedures are done in places like operating rooms and patient rooms where space is limited and fewer people in the room is preferred. With video capture technology, a delicate surgery or procedure can be shared with a group of students in a lecture hall, classroom or anywhere with a computer and internet access.

Institutions Can Thoroughly Monetize Their Teaching
A medical school only has so much physical space for students on campus. Video capture systems allow lectures, procedures, and clinical training to be shared with students who pay tuition for distance learning programs. This improves the return on investment in technology.

WSU-School-of-NursingHospitals Can Share Real-Life Medical Situations
Many medical schools have relationships with local hospitals. With video capture systems, hospitals can record actual medical cases and procedures that take place in the hospital and clinical environments. These videos can be shared with medical students to provide real world examples of what they are learning in class.

Instructors Can Critique Their Own Teaching
With such an involved curriculum, it can be tough for a professor to take a step back and evaluate their teaching style and methods. Using video in medical schools gives instructors this opportunity. They can watch their lectures and demonstrations to critique themselves, or watch videos from other professors to get tips and ideas on how to teach a certain concept or medical technique.

Students’ Parents Are More Engaged
Parents of students in medical school play a big role in the education of their child: Even if they are not financially supporting their child’s decision to attend medical school, they are still there for emotional support. Using video in medical schools means that parents can see what their children are learning and doing. This makes them more engaged with their children’s learning, which gives parents peace of mind. It can also provide a boost for donations.

Video capture systems are becoming more prominent and necessary in higher learning institutions. This is because it saves time, allows for learning from any location, and helps instructors improve their teaching abilities. These are just some of the ways we’ve seen video capture systems helping medical schools, professors, students and administrators. We’d love to hear how it might be helping you and/or how Avidex can help you leverage video and technology more effectively.

Jeff Miller

About Jeff Miller

Jeff has been working in the professional AV integration industry for over twenty years. During that time he has served as Designer, Project Manager and/or Account Executive for hundreds of projects. As an Account Executive at Avidex, he specializes in Medical, Education, and Control Rooms. He can be reached at jmiller@avidex.com

Telemedicine To Drive Safer Sports and Concussion Management

Ambulance on football fieldOver the past few years there has been a lot of discussion and debate relating to athletes and the management of head trauma. From Pee Wee football to the NFL, this has been a hot topic. For those of us living and playing (or with kids who play) sports in urban settings, we don’t think much of it. Access to healthcare in the event of an emergency is right around the corner. However, while many people may live in urban areas, only a small percentage of the land across the states is defined as urban. Meaning, for some, access to the required care may not be so available for some.

In a recent Daily Record article Telemedicine could help schools assess concussions the tone is set by exploring what it may be like when a high school student athlete takes a hit and is believed to be concussed. The nearest treatment facility doesn’t have the type of specialist to give the proper attention to this incident and the nearest neurological specialist is hundreds of miles away. What can be done?

Many healthcare professionals are looking at ways that telemedicine could help better handle these types of situations. In fact, the Mayo Clinic recently teamed up with the University of Arizona to explore how real time analysis could be done on the field with potentially concussed athletes. While nothing has been widely rolled out, what comes to mind is having specialists available on demand to perform on field exams using a tablet and high resolution camera. Just imagine what this could do for better treatment of athletes?

Even if on the field care is too far away, telemedicine at the local care center could be a giant step in providing more immediate care for athletes who may have head trauma. What we do know for sure is this is one very solid application for Telemedicine and Telehealth technology.

At Avidex we work with our healthcare organizations to utilize technology to meet their most important business and patient objectives. From Telepresence to Wayfinding and so much more, how can we help your organization leverage the best technology available?

Anthony Paoletti

About Anthony Paoletti

Anthony brings over 23 years of audiovisual experience and has worn nearly every "hat" in the industry; from Consultant to End User; Account Representative to Install Technician; Project Manager to Systems Engineer. Contact Anthony at apaoletti@avidexav.com