Grant Application

Todd Spencer, MSN, RN, CCRN, and Lindsay Farione, BSN, RN, CCRN, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

Proposed Innovation

Communication is critical when caring for patients in isolation rooms in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). During COVID-19 pandemic, communication between PICU staff inside the patient’s room and those outside the room became even more challenging. Staff members resorted to using various means of communication — including handwritten messages, shouting, speaker phones, and computer tablets — to pass along vital information.

This project seeks to overcome these communication hurdles in the isolation room by using wireless medical headsets. The system allows staff to communicate clearly, even through walls or in environments with significant background noise. In addition, a protocol will be developed for the use of these same devices in critical situations where communication is difficult, such as rapid responses, cardiac arrests, and ECMO cannulations.

Improvements in Action

The headset system is a short-range communication device that creates a closed loop of six headsets. The noise-cancelling headsets automatically connect when removed from the base, allowing staff to instantly communicate with anyone else who is wearing a headset.

Intended Outcomes

Using the headset system is expected to improve the speed and efficiency of communication and decrease the risk of miscommunication and exposure of staff to infectious diseases. It also will improve the quality of care for the sickest pediatric patients when rolled out for use in high-leverage critical situations.