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Texas Health Fort Worth Implements Quiet Environment Initiative
03/26/2009

FORT WORTH, Texas — For decades, researchers have been studying the effects of noise on a patient’s recovery. Studies have shown a correlation between quiet environments and better outcomes in patients. As a result of these studies, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth is studying how a quiet environment can benefit its patients, physicians and employees.

Quiet Environment CI Team
Lowers Noise Levels

Innovation Award
Quiet Environment CI Team Lowers Noise Levels
Texas Health Fort Worth

“Texas Health Fort Worth is a large, busy tertiary care center that cares for some of the sickest patients in Tarrant and surrounding counties,” said David Smith, M.D., medical director of the trauma program. “Creating a quiet environment is the right thing not only for our patients but also for the clinical staff.”

The hospital began to pilot the program, “Yacker Tracker”, in September 2008. Stop lights were placed in visible places throughout the hospital to remind the staff when noise levels may be adversely affecting patients. The hospital also lowered the volume of overhead announcements in patient care areas to provide a more healing environment.

Preliminary data shows the program is working to reduce noise levels in patient care areas.

“When we started this program, we were measuring 70 to 80 decibels in patient care areas, which is the equivalent to a loud noise level, like the sound of a loud conversation among friends or industrial noise,” said Dr. Karen Reed, administrative director of medical affairs. “Since implementing the program, our first round of data shows that we are now seeing a 50 to 60 decibel level, which sounds like a normal talking tone. Our goal is to achieve a noise level of 35 to 40 decibels, which is equivalent to using a whisper or a soft talking tone.”

As the study continues, Reed and hospital leaders are continuing to evaluate how their work is reducing the level of noise in patient care areas. The ultimate goal is that reducing noise will increase the rate of wound healing and reduce the incidence of re-hospitalization for patients.

About Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth is 724-bed, Magnet-designated regional referral center that has served the residents of Tarrant County since 1930. The hospital’s services include cardiovascular services, high-risk and routine obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedics and sports medicine, neonatal intensive care, and trauma/emergency medicine. Texas Health Fort Worth is also home to the 100-bed Texas Health Harris Methodist Heart Center. An affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, Texas Health Fort Worth has more than 4,000 employees, 200 volunteers and nearly 1,000 physicians practicing on the medical staff. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. The system of 13 hospitals includes Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, Texas Health Harris Methodist hospitals, Texas Health Presbyterian hospitals, and a medical research organization. Texas Health is a corporate member or partner in six additional hospitals and surgery centers. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit www.TexasHealth.org.

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