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.
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.
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 email@example.com