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How Does Lencore Provide a Solution for Noise Pollution in Healthcare?

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Friday, December 09, 2016

There's no overstating the importance of sound privacy in healthcare environments these days, especially with recent refinements in HCAHPS requirements and stringent HIPAA laws in place. Specifically, recent changes in HCAHPS have placed an increasingly large focus on maintaining quiet healthcare spaces for a better overall patient experience. After all, studies have shown that fewer noise distractions can lead to faster recovery times and a reduced chance of readmission in patients.

Unfortunately, most healthcare facilities are buzzing with potentially distracting sounds. From conversations between healthcare staff to loud medical carts and equipment, creating a quieter environment can be a challenge. In addition to implementing "quiet zones", installing noise meters, and even offering headphones and ear plugs to patients, there are many other steps healthcare facilities should take to stay in compliance with HCAHPS and HIPAA speech privacy and noise reduction requirements.

Increasing Sound Privacy in Healthcare Facilities

Current HIPAA regulations require healthcare facilities to protect patient privacy in a number of ways, including communicating patient information orally at the "minimum necessary" frequency and only with "reasonable safeguards" in place. As such, healthcare professionals should be reminded to:

  • Talk discreetly in a low tone of voice, especially when discussing patient information
  • Post and heed warning signs in staff areas to take sound privacy measures
  • Keep patients/visitors at a safe acoustic distance from consultation areas, prescription counters, and similar spaces

Furthermore, owners of healthcare facilities should consider adding acoustic, sound-absorbing panels and quality ceiling tiles to reduce noise, as well as implementing a system known as sound masking.

Sound Masking and Its Vital Role in Healthcare

Sound masking involves the strategic placement of sound sources and unobtrusive "pink noise" to reduce distracting noises and increase privacy within a space. Currently, it is estimated that the healthcare segment makes up between 20% and 25% of the sound masking industry—and that sound masking can help to reduce noise distractions by as much as 35% to 40% in any given space.

Furthermore, sound masking technology has evolved to allow the integration and zoning of paging and background music. Through proper design, a healthcare facility is able to get three systems in one.

Lencore Sound Masking

At Lencore, we specialize in offering customized sound masking systems for any space, regardless of size or layout. Our network and non-network controlled systems are ideal for improving your healthcare facility environment for patients and workers alike, as well as ensuring you're in compliance with HIPAA and other industry regulations. We also offer additional features, such as paging, to meet your needs.

Sound masking is by far the most effective and cost-effective option available to you and can even work to improve trust and relationships between patients and doctors/nurses. After all, when a patient can hear a doctor discussing another patient's health in an adjacent room, this can make them feel wary of their own health information being leaked. With a sound masking system, you can help to avoid these kinds of issues and thus improve trust and patient satisfaction.

There are many steps healthcare facilities can take to reduce noise levels and increase oral privacy, but sound masking is certainly one of the best options. To find out more about how sound masking can work for you, or to request a free demo in your workplace, feel free to contact our team today.

Sources:

http://lencore.com/ResourceCenter/CommonResources/References/NewsBriefs/Healthcare.aspx

http://lencore.com/Portals/5/Lencore_Docs/HIPAA_Handout.pdf

http://lencore.com/Portals/5/Lencore_Docs/Article_QuietPlease.pdf

http://lencore.com/Resource-Center/Common-Resources/Popular-Resources/Contact-Us