How audio communication needs differ between different areas of a hospital

How audio communication needs differ between different areas of a hospital
From lobbies to operating rooms to patient rooms to external parking garages and hallways, all these areas in a hospital need some sort of audio communication system; however, that doesn’t mean they have the same requirements.

Hospitals have multiple layers of audio communication. Different units or zones require different levels of hospital communication systems. Hospital lobbies do not have the same communication requirements as an operating room or patient room. For example, a severe code blue announcement does not need to be heard in the lobby, but it is necessary in other relevant units to alert the appropriate hospital staff. Similarly, communication should extend to external areas of a hospital as well, such as information booths and parking garages.

When creating the mass communication system’s day-to-day operations/ workflow and deciding what messages to route to what zones, several factors are looked at, especially message type and unit requirements,” explained Thomas Ahern, Engineered Solutions and Services Manager at AtlasIED.

Communications in sterile environments


Operating rooms and laboratories have very specific requirements compared to other areas of a hospital. For example, mass notifications should only be included in extreme lockdown situations, as there is no need to have general pages in these areas. Additionally, these environments require germ- and dust-proof communication solutions. Rebecca Richardson, Product Innovation and Marketing Manager at Jacques Technologies explained how her company’s IP clean room intercom is designed specifically for sterile environments like operating rooms and laboratories.
 
Thomas Ahern, Engineered
Solutions and Services Manager,
AtlasIED

“Our intercom features an anti-microbial membrane that inhibits the growth of bacteria while allowing for easy cleaning. Also, the intercom terminal has been specifically engineered to provide simplified, hands-free calling from within these clean environments,” she said.

Features like anti-microbial surfaces to deter the growth of bacteria are common in clean room and operating room intercoms. Other features such as tough surfaces able to withstand chemical cleaning and scrubbing is also needed. From an aesthetic point of view, these intercoms tend to have flat surfaces without holes in order to minimize the accumulation of bacteria in any open areas.

In terms of communication, these intercoms must provide excellent, clear audio quality. This can be enhanced with advanced audio technologies such as active noise filtering and acoustic echo cancellation. Hands-free communication is also important to allow doctors and nurses to communicate with additional medical professionals outside the operating room, while also not leaving their hands free to do work and not get contaminated.

Communication outside the hospital


Intercoms are not just needed inside the hospitals, but in its external areas as well. One example of this is in parking garages. Jacques Technologies explained the added convenience of having intercom help points installed alongside ticketing machines and boom gates in parking garages at hospitals. According to its health care whitepaper, drivers can use these audio and video intercom stations to receive help and assistance, get general information or make emergency calls.

The company provided such an audio intercom system to Sunshine Coast University Hospital in Australia. The audio intercoms were mounted on security information bollards in and around the external areas of the hospital and within the car park for easy access and use. The company also provides customizable audio intercoms that can be installed at boom gates, allowing visitors to call for assistance to enter and exit parking garages. “This application is very useful for large hospitals with multi-story carparks at various locations,” Richardson said.


Product Adopted:
Public Address / Party Paging System


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