Category Archives: Video Communication

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.

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

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