As we have seen, pro AV has become a key aspect of several diverse environments, from restaurants to coworking spaces. In the healthcare industry, existing and emerging AV applications are being used to improve patient stays, boost care team communication and support a higher level of service and efficiency.

Here's a look at why more and more hospitals should be updating their AV equipment to the latest models. 

How Hospitals Are Integrating AV

As AV becomes more common in hospitals, we will continue to see it being used in a wide variety of ways. Sometimes, those applications can be simple, such as helping to make a patient's stay more pleasant. But other times, AV technology can be used to teach doctors or help them treat patients in ways that haven't been possible before.

According to Colin Farquhar, CEO of IPTV specialist Exterity, AV is becoming much more common across large hospitals, specialized clinics and GP surgeries. These care teams are leveraging technologies like ultra-HD content, integrated digital signage and interactive displays, he adds.

And as these AV tools become more ubiquitous, writer Tom Zind only expects the market for high-end AV systems to grow exponentially. One company supporting this demand is Vision2AV, which offers hospital-grade patients' TVs, replacement lamps, digital signage screens, monitors and medical-grade monitors.

As simple applications like these help improve patient stays, emerging AV technologies are taking hospital operations and care team efficiency to an entirely new level. 


Improving Hospital Operations


Pro AV has the power to change the way staff members learn and do business. At Henry County Medical Center in Tennessee, for example, staff members practice their CPR skills, using real-time audio-visual feedback in 10-minute sessions. Helping staff members practice in this way allows them to keep skills sharp, which is especially important in the life-or-death situations where CPR has to be used.

With the right AV technology, doctors can provide care even when they aren't in the room. Emory Critical Care Center in Atlanta has made strides here. As founding director Timothy Buchman, Ph.D., MD, explains: “Tele ICU medicine provides another option when a bedside intensivist is not available, because patients and providers benefit not only from having remote access to medical experts, these experts can also be available around-the-clock via an advanced bi-directional audio visual platform. We believe we can provide critical care to a patient no matter where they are in the world.”

Technology like this can completely change the way healthcare specialists operate, helping them save more lives than ever before. As AV Magazine's Zoe Mutter reports, video collaboration can be used to provide cardiologists with access to operations documents in real time. This means that they can access diagnostic-quality scans, feeds and other key data without being physically present in the hospital.



Existing Capabilities

Some hospitals get by with the legacy AV already present in many hospitals. But this equipment isn't always able to handle the needs of a modern hospital. In cases like these, new, more flexible systems are called for.

This was the case with Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Illinois. “Since we were moving to an existing structure, the construction team hired by the college handled the complete teardown of existing infrastructure, leaving little behind but walls and the electrical systems,” said Dustin Willis, project manager at Southwest AV. His team used AV over IP to successfully merge audio systems from the old location to the new facility.

Networked AV is a good choice for hospitals because it is powerful and flexible while still being cost-effective. As it works over the internet, it is also quite intuitive and easy to learn.

Full Hospital AV Integration


Hospitals have already used AV over IP technology to change the way they handle patient care or surgeries. But what could a completed, fully AV-equipped hospital look like?

It might look a lot like the new pavilion and pediatric care centers at NYU Langone Health. Recently, these buildings introduced multiple new features that utilize the latest AV technology in a number of creative ways. One of those features is Buzz OR/AV Management. This high-resolution display integrates several information systems at once, enabling surgeons and doctors to visualize cases in real time. Additionally, this technology allows care team members to interact directly with pathologists in the lab from afar.

NYU Langone Health has also revolutionized the patient experience with MyWall, "a 75-inch, high-resolution electronic display screen in each patient room that allows patients to customize their experience in the hospital.” Patients can use this technology to learn more about their care team and current treatment plan. Plus, they can watch television, order meals and control their comfort by adjust the lighting and heat.

Other technologies — including transport robots and digital medication drawers with personalized patient inventory — were also implemented at these facilities to change the way doctors and patients interact with the hospital.


The Future Of Hospital AV


The current technology is being used to great effect. But what does the future of AV in hospitals look like?

There are plenty of simple applications that AV technology can be used for. Writer Len Calderone, for example, suggests AV can be used for wayfinding purposes in hospitals. “Finding your way through a hospital or large medical facility can be a challenge,” he says. “Using a touch screen kiosk or digital signage can make it easy for a patient or visitor to find their way by displaying detailed map diagrams, physician directories, and directions between two points.”

Little details like this can speed up the process of getting patients and visitors where they need to be. Going to a hospital is already stressful, so AV equipment can help take the guesswork out of things like location and surgery times.

As for what new technology will affect the future of healthcare, writer Margot Douaihy has some insights. She specifically highlights artificial intelligence (AI), telehealth and personalization.

Virtual reality is also a powerful force in the healthcare world, as Scaleworks VP of Communications Drew Olanoffnotes. It can be used to help children feel more at ease and comfortable, helping them mentally leave the hospital, even when their health doesn't allow it. For terminally ill children, this digital escapism can be especially helpful.

The hospital room of the future will likely rely on AV technology in even deeper ways. In a prototype designed by Phillips Design Creative Lead David Ruthven, for example, a touchscreen provides patients with access to educational content and social networking. It also empowers them with full environmental control, meaning they can manage the temperature, audio and lighting of their room. Having control over these elements can help ensure a more comfortable, personalized stay for patients — potentially boosting health outcomes.

More and more hospitals are opting for networked AV because it can easily be updated and synced across the entire hospital. However, it's important that hospitals consider their unique needs when picking an AV system. With the right technology and strategy, AV has the potential to help hospitals completely transform their quality of care.

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