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The Sonic Boom - The Sound of Healthcare

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A keynote speech given by Joel Beckerman at the MIT & Cornell Health Hackathon 2015

Published in: Health & Medicine
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The Sonic Boom - The Sound of Healthcare

  1. 1. The Sonic Boom The Sound of Healthcare April 11th, 2015 #HealthHack2015@joelbeckerman
  2. 2. Sonic Humanism The strategic use of music and sound to benefit people (Life Sciences / Social Sciences / Design Thinking)
  3. 3. Alarm Fatigue
  4. 4. “Although studies show it is difficult for humans to differentiate among more than 6 different alarm sounds, the average number of alarms in an ICU has increased from 6 in 1983 to more than 40 different alarms in 2011. In addition, 80% to 99% of electrocardiographic monitor alarms are false or clinically insignificant.” American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN):
  5. 5. Decibels 1. Refs - JD? 30 40 50 60 70 80 WHO RECOMMENDED (35 dB) 1960 DECIBELS TIME 2015 NIGHTTIME DAYTIME
  6. 6. The Sonic Boom Alarm hazards ranked number one on the 2014 Emergency Care Research Institute (ECRI) Top 10 Health Technology Hazards 19 out of 20 hospitals rank alarm as a top concern
  7. 7. The FDA identified 862 alarm-related deaths in a recent 7-year period. 1. http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/feature/wp/2013/07/07/too-much-noise-from-hospital-alarms-poses-risk-for-patients/
  8. 8. Alarm Fatigue: The Problems • Volume of alarms • Number of alarms • Inconsistent in meaning • Frequency • Acoustic properties of hospital spaces • Devices that are unaware of each other
  9. 9. Other Sonic Opportunities in Healthcare
  10. 10. Sonification of Data
  11. 11. Sonic in Mobile Healthcare
  12. 12. Sonic Curation for Patients
  13. 13. Sonic Humanism: Design Truths
  14. 14. WHAT IF… • Sound was used more efficiently to illicit a response in emergency circumstances? • Sound was designed to improve response times? • Sound could prioritize concerns quickly and intuitively? Truth #1 You react to sound first, before any other sense registers. Even Touch.
  15. 15. WHAT IF… • Sound was used more efficiently to illicit a response in emergency circumstances? • Sound was designed to improve response times? • Sound could prioritize concerns quickly and intuitively? Truth #1 You react to sound first, before any other sense registers. Even Touch.
  16. 16. WHAT IF… Truth #2 You can only understand a limited number of sounds at one time. Three. • We re-consider alarm priorities and frequency of how often they sound? • There was a standardized system of sound across devices and platforms? • Alarms/alerts were controlled by "smart" algorithms to grade volume and intensity according to urgency • Devices knew the state of other devices and understood the hierarchy of priority?
  17. 17. Truth #3 Sound provides emotional context for every communication
  18. 18. Truth #3 Sound provides emotional context for every communication • Alarms more precisely communicated urgency? • Sounds alerted but didn’t annoy? • We considered how curated music or ambiance affect the mood of patients and staff in a positive way? • Sound/music could play a role in Mental Health, one of Intrahealth’s top 10 health concerns of 2015? • Sound/music could meaningfully contribute to mobile health and global health surveillance? WHAT IF…
  19. 19. Truth #4 sound opportunities exist both inside and outside the human vocal range • We redesigned alarms accordingly? • We reconsidered the design of mobile health information in devices? WHAT IF…
  20. 20. Truth #5 Silence is sonic design white space • We reconsidered the sound in healthcare environments, pledging to trash the Sonic Trash. • We redesigned hospital acoustics with sound attenuating materials? • We reconsidered where alarms were positioned in relation to the patient? • We utilized current sound directive technology to direct sound away from patients? WHAT IF…
  21. 21. Sonic Humanism: Design Truths 1. You hear sound before any other sense registers 2. You can only register the meaning and intent of a limited number of sounds at one time 3. Sound can provide emotional context for communication 4. Sound can occur inside and outside the human vocal range 5. Silence in sonic white space
  22. 22. Thank you! #HealthHack2015@joelbeckerman

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