Telehealth on the rise – but are the rooms ready?

More consultations for citizens + 80 years

From 2009 – 2014 (in Denmark), the only group of patients who consults a doctor more is the group of patients who are + 80 years old. All other age groups consult a doctor less. Citizens aged 80 or older represent 10% of all consultations – despite the fact that they make up only 4% of the population(1).

chart

Furthermore, if we look into health costs we also see that citizens aged 75 and older top the list over age groups that have the highest health costs.

These numbers tell us that we have more and more ‘elderly ears’ in our healthcare facilities today than we used to and therefore we need to consider this fact when we build and refurbish rooms that should support communication, cure and care – also (and maybe even more) when we design for telehealth.

Online consultations

2020 was the first time in history when more professional interactions took place digitally than face to face. It is
clear that this type of communication has come to stay and will become a regular part of professional life.

Luckily it holds great potential for healthcare, sustainability and people in general. At the same time this technology also presents some challenges, as our patient/healthcare professional meeting now have to accommodate this new way of interacting.

The rise in online consultations has given patients an opportunity to contact clinicians faster and easier. When you are sick you are in a vulnerable situation and with telehealth a lot of challenging steps can be skipped; you can stay at home where you feel safe and comfortable.

As in many other architectural domains, acoustics in rooms for audio and/or video conferencing has a tendency to be
overlooked. Despite being called “video conferencing,”’ audio is actually the most important aspect of this technology.

When looking at video conferencing studies unfortunately:

  • Audio problems are the main issue reported from video conferences (2).
  • 46% of video conference users report that audio quality detracts from interaction (3).
  • Age-related hearing loss (presbyacusis) causes communication problems for approximately 37% of people between the ages of 61 and 70. This prevalence rises to 60% for people aged 71 to 80 (4).

Since these age groups are expected to use telehealth the most, the audio is of high importance.

Unfortunately a lot of rooms are not ready for telehealth and video conferencing in general and it causes problems for the users. Read more about the topic and find ideas to solve it here.

_____

(1) Momentum 2015

(2) Owl Labs: “State of Video Conferencing 2019.” Report, Ogilvys Behavioural Science Practice.

(3) Erin Wolfe: “Video Conferencing Statistics for 2019.” Web Article, Lifesize.

(4) Baur et al., Einfluss exogener Faktoren auf Altersschwerhörigkeit, HNO 2009, Springer Medizin Verlag 2009, p1023–1028

 

 

 

 

About Sound 195 Acoustics miscellaneous 220 Healthcare Environments 150

Related Blog Posts