Using public address systems in hospital environments

Using public address systems in hospital environments
Public address (PA) systems are an important part of a hospital communication system. In a hospital, a public address system provides hospital operators with a way to disseminate notifications, both for critical events and non-priority that can be heard by anyone within earshot. This makes a good PA system a critical part of any hospital communication system.

The complexity of a PA system depends on the needs of the facility. This can range from speakers and microphones installed in buildings to more sophisticated systems with advanced technologies that can be integrated with other systems. And like other technologies, PA systems are now also networked, which gives hospital operators more control over managing sound across their facility. Networked PA systems are also much easier for hospitals to upgrade, expand and maintain over time.

How hospitals use PA systems


A hospital public address systems can be used for paging, to make verbal announcements, and play pre-recorded messages, among others. It can also be integrated with emergency evacuation and warning alarms for mass notification. Rebecca Richardson, Product Innovation and Marketing Manager at Jacques Technologies pointed out how her company’s PA system highlights the capability to control multiple zones in a hospital, including remote car parks from one control unit. “This ensures every individual’s safety within the hospital buildings or car parks as they can be contacted and alerted in the case of an emergency or important security or safety announcement,” she said. 
Rebecca Richardson,
Product Innovation and Marketing
Manager, Jacques Technologies


Additionally, the company’s PC Master station provides hospitals with a customized graphical user interface (GUI), which includes customized maps and sub-maps, as well as loading audio files, warning tones and announcements for broadcast across all PA zones. Integration to SIP-enabled digital telephone systems further allows users to make live announcements across PA systems from their telephone, Richardson added.

It is also important that the sound quality is clear and intelligible. If announcements made over the PA system, such as code calls, security incidents or emergency situations, cannot be properly heard it could put lives at risk. Things like digital signal processing (DSP) and ambient noise compensation can all help improve both the clarity and intelligibility of messages being sent.

Integration with the nurse call system


A key integration to have is a connection between the nurse call system and the paging system, according to Thomas Ahern, Engineered Solutions and Services Manager at AtlasIED. “All acute care facilities have a nurse call system. It is one of the most integrated systems in the building. From the phone system to the telemetry equipment to the middleware creating reports, to the security and paging system all should have some requirement to communicate to the nurse call system,” he said.

And the market for nurse call systems is growing. The global market for the nurse call systems market is estimated to be worth US$2.5 billion by 2024, at a CAGR of 9.2 percent from 2019 to 2024, according to a recent report by Marketsandmarkets. Growth in the market is attributed to rising demand for quality care and increasing health care spending.
 
Nurse call systems have become an important communication system within a hospital that is used not only for patient monitoring, but various other types of communication as well. According to the Underwriters Laboratories, as wireless technologies grow, nurse call systems and other hospital signaling systems will require “interoperability and interference reliability testing to demonstrate they will continue to function in the noisy environments often found in acute care situations.” Standards like UL 1069 help to ensure these systems conform to the established minimum requirements.


Product Adopted:
Public Address / Party Paging System


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