Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust launches pilot utilising tech to reduce ward noise levels

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has launched ‘The Silent Hospital Pilot Project’, seeking to reduce levels of noise on a postnatal ward by introducing technology capable of silencing patient call bells and driving the audible alerts to staff mobile phones instead.

To evaluate the pilot’s success, the trust aims to measure the “actual reduction of noise and the qualitative benefits in terms of improved wellbeing, faster recovery and better communication”, with data to be gathered from the nurse call system to measure response times and the “consistent functioning of the software”.

Commenting on the impact for service users, director of midwifery Sally Brittain states: “Our postnatal ward is always a busy place with many parents and newborn babies often unable to get much needed quality rest due to the noisy environment. The babies on the ward that have been born prematurely will also benefit greatly from the quieter and more nurturing environment to support their development.”

The pilot will potentially be the first step for the trust in introducing other silencing digital technologies for medical equipment in other wards across the hospital.

It marks the first digital project to be trialled under the trust’s new Women and Children’s Hospital Programme, and sees Royal Cornwall Hospitals collaborate with UK engineering company TClarke as well as Norwegian digital solutions company DNV Imatis.

Roberta Fuller, programme director for the Women and Children’s Hospital Programme, shares that the transformation team is monitoring the pilot to test how “silent ward solutions” can function with use of regular mobile phones, as opposed to bespoke digital devices.

“Our ambition is to explore more digital technologies for the new Women and Children’s hospital, such as equipment and patient tracking, wayfinding software and communications systems to improve the delivery of cleaning, catering and portering,” she adds. “Environmental sustainability measures such as energy monitoring and room-by-room control of heating, lighting and ventilation are also being considered to improve the patient experience in our new hospital.”

In March, we reported that Royal Cornwall Hospitals has partnered with Isla Health to offer dermatology services remotely to patients across community hospitals in Cornwall.

We also previously noted the trust’s development of its electronic patient record programme here, with an expected launch in spring 2025.