Sometimes the ways technology can improve the patient experience are complex new sensors, patient engagement apps, or telepresence robots. Or sometimes they're simple. Like CareCube, a new product from Madison, Wisconsin-based Quietyme that will allow hospitalized patients to call for a nurse, food service, hospitality, or more just by changing the orientation of a box about the size and shape of a Rubik's Cube.
"So you flip it to a picture of a fork and a knife and after a few seconds, it sends a message directly to food service," Huey Zoroufy, chief operating officer at Quietyme, told MobiHealthNews. "... It’s multilingual, it works for a variety of capabilities as far as dexterity, and it’s very simple to manipulate."
The CareCube is just one offering of Quietyme, which also offers a sensor hub to monitor sound levels and an analytics platform that helps use that data to reduce noise complaints.
Quietyme launched in 2013 with an original focus on hospitality markets. They planned to use data analytics to understand and reduce noise complaints that wake up hotel guests and lead to bad reviews and lost revenue. But in 2014, after going through the Healthbox accelerator, they realized that HCAP scores were tied even more closely to hospital revenues than TripAdvisor reviews were to hotel revenues. And in a hospital, getting a good night's sleep is important to a patient's healing process. So they shifted their focus to the healthcare space.
"The reason the CareCube is so closely aligned with that is we identified some of the biggest causes of noise disturbance, and it was staff doing important work," Zoroufy said. "You can’t stop staff doing important work, it’s how they do the work. Communicating in the hallways, paging, these are all things that create disturbances. And as we looked into it and worked very closely with nurses. One of the studies we saw was that nurses spend 16 percent of their time responding to patient calls that are things that aren’t really their responsibility. Things like food service, housekeeping, things they should be delegating to someone else."
The CareCube is customizable, so hospitals can decide which five messages they want patients to be able to send (the sixth face, a smiley face icon, indicates that no service is required). This could include food, water, house cleaning, a nurse, or an emergency need. The cubes are manufactured with blank faces and then stickers are used to customize them to each hospital's specifications. The cube uses Bluetooth to wirelessly communicate the request to the appropriate party in the hospital.
The cube will be going live in a few hospitals in December, with more to follow in 2016, Zoroufy said. Quietyme's other services are rolled out in 20 to 25 hospitals across the nation. The company has 15 employees and has raised about $2 million in debt and equity. Their leading investor is American Family Ventures.
"We’re past the beta stage, but we want to make it a smooth interface to work with a variety of services a hospital might use," Zoroufy said. "They might have pagers, smartphones, tablets, they might deploy service people verbally from an office. We want to integrate into all the different ways support services communicate with their staff because there’s so much variety."