Quietyme seeks to track and tame noisy nurses and neighbors

February 18, 2015
by Stacey Higginbothom
GIGAOM
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Noise is a significant problem in hospitals, costing them patient satisfaction and possibly dollars now that certain payments are tied to satisfaction metrics. It also can be a source of conflict and dissatisfaction in the hospitality and property rental industries, which is why Quietyme, a startup in Madison, Wisconsin, thinks it is sitting on a big business opportunity.

CEO John Bialk explained that his company already has pilot deals with more than 20 hospitals right now. Quietyme makes a ZigBee-based series of sensors that track the noise levels and then sells an analytics service to monitor them. The software is more expensive in the initial months when it is learning and tracking noise and then teaching the nurses in the hospital how to reduce it. Then the cost drops to a cheaper maintenance mode fee.

The system works by placing a noise sensor in each room and hallway and then measuring the noise levels. The software looks for the peak levels for each second of the day because average noise is useless since there’s generally a lot of silence. When shown graphs of peak noise throughout the day, especially during times when people are sleeping, it becomes an effective tool to train people to change their behaviors.

Bialk said the ability to show people how their behavior affected noise levels that day was essential to helping them change their habits. The immediacy of the data is what enables people to change. It also can help bring the nurses into the process as collaborators because they can see the noise spikes and recollect what they were doing when it happened. That allows them to see where they can change.