Tag Archives: medical

Look Mom! No Hands! Voice Control in Healthcare.

patient in sterile roomThere is a growing body of evidence—and countless real-world examples—that demonstrate how so-called “disinfected” medical devices are not as clean as we think.

Given the recent potential outbreaks of everything from MRSA to Ebola, that is a chilling statement. It is hard to believe that in the world or modern disinfectants and sterilization techniques, that 86 percent of “disinfected” devices may still be contaminated. This reality has caused many to embrace shifts towards disposable single use devices in the medical facilities. That approach may be fine for inspection instruments and personal items, however, electronic equipment and medical monitoring devices will never be disposable items.

Many of these devices have NEMA rated coatings and enclosures to mitigate the chances of liquids and particles entering into and contaminating them. This makes them easier to clean, but doesn’t eliminate contamination potential on high touch surfaces. So if coatings and enclosures only protect what is underneath, and many disinfection techniques are falling short to clean the surfaces commonly touched, how do we assure these devices stay free of contamination? The answer? Don’t touch them at all.

Many healthcare facilities are making the leap toward voice recognition systems to help eliminate cross contamination in their facilities. There are three major opportunities in the patient journey where this cutting edge technology can be used.

Admissions

The admissions process typically involves the collection of a patient’s personal and insurance information by a medical professional as well as the crucial retrieval of the patient’s health history. Today, most of this information is digitized when collected, and once this occurs, becomes part of the patient’s Electronic Medical Records (EMR). Voice transcription software allows the medical professional to input all of this information verbally as well as search for EMRs all without having to touch a keyboard or tablet.

Examination and Evaluation

There are a variety of devices used during the examination and evaluation of a patient. As stated above, many of these devices are tools that can be either sterilized or disposed of. However, the modern medical facility also has a plethora of computerized, electronic equipment that is touched constantly to help in the examination. This makes sterilization near impossible and disinfection problematic.

However, the same computerized, electronic nature of the equipment also means there is the opportunity for voice control. Several software companies and control system manufacturers are capitalizing on this fact to empower medical professionals to control these devices with their voice. Everything from endoscopy and radiology equipment to diagnostic systems to laboratory and operating room devices are being controlled today through the use of control system hardware and custom software solutions.

The Patient Room

Contamination and the need for disinfecting do not stop once a patient is admitted into the hospital. The patient room is another area where there are a lot of electronic devices used by the patients themselves. Remotes for TVs, switches for lighting, and nurse call buttons are high use items provided to empower the patient to control their own comfort. These items are also hard to sterilize, and the risk of contamination here can be greatly reduced by eliminating the need for the patient to touch them altogether, and instead, control them with their voice.

There is no doubt that in modern medicine, healthcare professionals are equipped to deal with potential infection better than any time in the past. Disinfectants, sterilization techniques, and even antibiotics have all aided in this endeavor. However any time a piece of equipment is touched, it is potentially exposed to some type of contamination. Turning high touch devices into no touch devices, through the power of voice recognition and voice control systems, are the next logical step in assuring that patients get the best quality of care modern technology can provide.

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://medicaldesign.com/components/value-single-use-devices-emergency-department

#2: https://www.nema.org/Products/Documents/nema-enclosure-types.pdf

#3: http://www.1stproviderschoice.com/medical-voice-recognition-software.php

#4: http://www.governmentvideo.com/article/crestron-introduces-wireless-controller-with-voice-command-recognition/115410

#5: http://www.semvox.de/branchenloesungen/134/6/voice-control-for-health-care-solutions.html

 

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

Are cloud based solutions right for the healthcare environment?

Doctor cloudThe tech industry today is abuzz with information about the cloud: what it is, how it is being developed and implemented, and why it matters. In the complex world of healthcare, many doctors and administrators are still unsure about what the cloud is and whether or not it can help them do their work. Because of the nature of the medical field and the already-existing applications for cloud technology, cloud based solutions and the healthcare industry are very well suited for each other.

The Cloud’s Current Position In Healthcare

Reports and research show that the cloud is already being harnessed regularly in the healthcare field. Markets and Markets, a research firm based in Texas, projects that by 2017 the global healthcare cloud computing market will be worth $5.4 billion. M&M further reports that many HCOs are setting aside money to migrate their systems to the cloud in the next five years. Adoption is happening quickly: in a more recent Forbes Article, Louis Columbus references data indicating that 83% of IT executives say they already use cloud services.

An article in CIO also points to the rise of cloud use in the healthcare field: Brian Eastwood writes about a 31% rise between 2012 and 2013 in the use of the cloud for storing personal health information. It is clear that the cloud is present and on the rise in healthcare, but healthcare professionals looking to truly understand the connection between healthcare and the cloud also have to examine why the cloud is entering the field at such a rapid rate.

Why The Cloud And Healthcare Are Perfect For Each Other

Cloud based solutions and the healthcare industry make sense together primarily because of the way that the cloud stores and provides access to data, which is an integral process in the medical field. There are many healthcare applications where cloud solutions can make information access easier and more streamlined than traditional methods:

  • Managing payment and financial data: the cloud makes it much easier for administrators across an entire healthcare facility or system of facilities to access and edit financial data, which makes accounting procedures less difficult to manage
  • Backup and disaster recovery: in case of a major natural disaster or other event that wreaks havoc on a healthcare facility’s on-site computing systems, cloud solutions will make recovery much easier
  • Clinical data and applications: this is a huge reason that cloud based solutions and the healthcare industry are a good match. Cloud solutions mean that doctors and their staff can access clinical tools used for patient care from any location, which makes it easier to review patient records, make notes about treatment options, and provide more accurate diagnoses

Although it is clear that cloud based solutions and the healthcare industry will work well together, there are hurdles to this union. Some network administrators express concern over potential challenges with security and HIPAA compliance that the cloud might pose. Regardless of these obstacles, current data and future projections indicate that cloud based solutions and the healthcare industry are going to be closely connected for many years into the future.

Jim Colquhoun

About Jim Colquhoun

Jim Colquhoun is the Chief Technologist for Avidex. Jim brings an exceptional record of management and operational experience, as well as expertise in the design and integration of communications, AV, and broadcast systems. Jim can be reached at jcolquhoun@avidexav.com