With noise pollution increasingly regarded as an ‘under-the-radar’ threat to patient safety, experts from a range of fields are teaming up to design a hospital of the future – one that is silent.
Experts come from fields both within and out with healthcare and include healthcare leaders, acousticians and even musicians according to Quartz.
This multi-professional approach to the issue is resulting in innovative thinking outside the box. Teams are working to cut noise levels wherever feasible.
One area of focus is wearables, which are tipped to flood healthcare in the short-term future. Experts have suggested that they replace noisy monitors and alert nursing staff as to when a patient’s condition changes.
Other ideas include private waiting rooms for patients for a
more relaxed environment ahead of treatment and ambient music instead of
televisions. Some of these suggestions show similarities to how autistic
patients are dealt with.
A significant amount of work has gone into reducing noise levels in hospitals but has focused mostly on pollution from alarms. Johns Hopkins University research shows that patients are more disturbed by the sounds from other patients – especially those who are in pain.
Healthcare design is undergoing a large shift with managing noise pollution just one aspect of a wider movement says Nick Dawson, executive director of the Johns Hopkins Sibley Innovation Hub. Speaking to Quartz, Dawson said motivation amongst providers differed. One thing is clear though; the aim at improved outcomes impact on hospital design.
“Some organisations are motivated by revenue streams from intellectual property,” he said, while “some are looking at it as a way to mitigate HCAHPS [Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems]. And some are looking at it and saying, ‘There’s this untapped voice of the patient out there and we need to re-tailor our business toward them.’”
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