A pioneering new device to help doctors and nurses communicate clearly while wearing personal protection equipment (PPE) has been developed in collaboration with team engineers Alpine de F1.
Covering medical personnel treating patients with COVID-19 and other infectious diseases from head to toe, PPE causes doctors and nurses to regularly shout to be heard, which is not only exhausting, but it can cause miscommunication errors that could harm patients.
But thanks to MedicCom this is a thing of the past. The device was devised by Tim coats, Professor of Emergency Medicine and Associate Dean of Clinical Data Science at the University of Leicester, in collaboration with Pitlane Project, a non-profit group that brings together people who work in F.1.
MedicCom's prototype design uses a throat microphone to pick up and amplify sound, allowing patients to better hear the medical staff caring for them. The same function also allows doctors and nurses to hear each other much more clearly, while a bluetooth connection connects to a mobile phone, allowing the doctor or nurse to have a clear telephone conversation with the patient's family members.
“Good communication has a profoundly positive effect on patient care and that is why we started working on a solution. Working with the F.1 engineers has been brilliant. We have been able to use their advanced electrical engineering expertise and rapid prototyping facilities to produce a device in six months that would normally take years. "Coats explained.
The prototype devices have been positively evaluated by clinicians at Leicester hospitals and the Center for Medical Device Technology Assessment in Birmingham, and the team behind the design is now seeking additional funding to implement the devices across the NHS.
The device went from design to fully functional prototype in an unprecedented six months thanks to the methodologies commonly used in the F.1 industry. The group was able to significantly reduce its size thanks to a more compact battery and lightweight circuit board components, plus a smaller speaker and sealing mechanism.
The Pitlane Project, which unites track competitors and staff from F.1 and motorsports, was created in March 2020 to respond to the UK government's 'call to arms' to collaborate and produce essential supplies in the fight against COVID-19. It draws on experience and goodwill across the industry to help multiple organizations with engineering challenges and deliver an end product or service for the common good.