Title

Overcoming Communication Barriers: An evaluation of communication devices for healthcare providers wearing powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs)

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

6-2021

Journal

Perioperative Care and Operating Room Management

Volume

23

Abstract

Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increased use of Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRs), by health care providers to mitigate the risk of viral transmission, especially for aerosol-generating procedures. In this study, we evaluate communication devices that could be used concurrently with PAPRs to promote improved communication.

Methods

We tested two devices, a Bluetooth earpiece and a throat microphone that operated over mobile networks, against a control scenario in a simulated operating room environment with participants donning PAPRs. Participants read a short paragraph to each other, transcribed short phrases, and evaluated the scenarios according to speech intelligibility, ease of use, and comfort.

Results

There were 30 participants of varying PAPR experience. The Bluetooth headset had the most accurate transcriptions, followed by control, and lastly the neckpiece (94.7%vs 88.4%vs 76%, p<0.001).

Conclusion

Communication devices have the potential to bridge but also worsen communications barriers between providers donning PAPRs.

Peer Reviewed

1

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