Health workers at the UK’s Royal Cornwall Trust are piloting an innovative communications system developed by telecoms giant BT that allows staff to contact each other via voice-activated badges.
Tiny voice-activated devices weighing less than two ounces are being worn by staff at the hospital. By saying a person’s name or department into the badge, users are automatically connected with the appropriate person and can speak to them using voice-over-IP (VoIP) technology.
BT explained that the technology is based on a BT wireless local area network and uses mobile VoIP technology to convert voice into IP packets which can be transmitted over the network and reassembled into voice at the receiving device.
Though the system is already in use in the US, the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust is the first hospital in the UK to use a system of this kind, and it is hoped the new technology will deliver improvements in productivity for hospital personnel.
Steve Wells of BT Health said, The system overcomes many of the deficiencies of alternative technologies in this highly specialized field and we are delighted to be working with the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, which is trail-blazing this technology in the UK healthcare market.
Simon Goodwin, director of IT for Cornwall NHS, responded positively to the technology saying secure and reliable communication was vital for hospital environments and that the new system would help staff respond more quickly to patients’ needs.