Augment Medical

North Carolina State University,  2011 - $17,000

The term “complex communications needs” (CCN) is commonly used in hospitals to refer to the problems severely disabled patients can have in communicating their needs to staff. Barriers to communication can occur, for example, when a patient has new physical disabilities caused by traumatic injury. Hundreds of thousands of patients experience this every year, and it can create dangerous situations: a recent Joint Commission survey identified communication failures as a top underlying cause of events resulting in death or serious injury to patients while under hospital care each of the past eight years.

Augment Medical is developing PatientLink, a novel wireless communication platform accessible to disabled patients that enables them to call the nurse, turn lights on and off and control the TV. It consists of a patient input controller, a wall adapter, Bluetooth wireless technology, and software for user interface. This allows a patient to call a nurse with voice activation or by squinting, and to communicate by capturing signals from facial movements.