Case Study: Acoustics and Patient Satisfaction in Hospitals

ACOUSTICS AND PATIENT SATISFACTION IN HOSPITALS

THE CHALLENGE | At Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill, PA they had traditionally used hard ceilings in their construction, but this created acoustical problems in patient rooms, as Tim De- Blaey, vice president for cardiovascular services explained, “Although using hard ceilings in
the patient rooms made it easier to clean than tile, we were in a quandary about why our rooms sounded like echo chambers.

Holy Spirit needed to address their HIPAA requirements and wanted a solution to the acoustical problems patients were experiencing in the patient rooms. They felt this was impacting the patient’s comfort.

THE SOLUTION | After researching a number of alternatives and companies, Holy Spirit felt that Lencore was the right choice to take on their challenge. Holy Spirit Hospital opted for sound masking because it was more cost effective than other solutions they were considering. “The sound masking system did everything for us,” said DeBlaey. “From a HIPAA standpoint it helped mitigate some of the information sharing and it got rid of the echo effect in patient rooms.” Tim added, “Before, one of the major complaints that came up through our patient survey system was noise level, particularly after hours when things are quiet in the hall with the exception of the nurse’s station. Since the installation of the masking, patients have commented about how quiet the Heart Center is and how well they slept.

THE OUTCOME | Investing in a quality sound masking system and upgrading ceiling tiles effectively “covered” potential breaches in oral privacy and helped Holy Spirit meet their HIPAA oral privacy objectives and avoid potential liability. “When we opened our new Heart Center with patient rooms fitted with sound masking, our patient satisfaction rating jumped to 98 percent,” added Tim DeBlaey. “The system is also a positive for our staff. Nurses can maintain a normal tone of voice without interrupting patients.”

COMMENTARY

Combining high performance ceiling tile to absorb and block sound, and adding a quality sound masking system to cover the remaining sounds that are not absorbed or blocked is the best way to approach the acoustic design for privacy and for comfort.

 “The sound masking system did everything for us. From a HIPAA standpoint it helped mitigate some of the information sharing and it got rid of the echo effect in patient rooms.” 

“Before, one of the major complaints that came up through our patient survey system was noise level, particularly after hours when things are quiet in the hall with the exception of the nurse’s station. Since the installation of the masking, patients have commented about how quiet the Heart Center is and how well they slept.”

– Tim De- Blaey, Vice President for cardiovascular services, Holy Spirit Hospital

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