How a new face mask is changing the face of health care
Simple idea could make big difference
Video by Isaac Blancas. Originally posted here by Kumasi Aaron, Scripps Media.
DENVER — It’s easy to take things for granted, like being able to talk with your doctor when you need to. But what if you couldn’t? Sometimes the simplest of ideas can make the biggest of differences.
Tim Tyler said he had to learn to cope with losing his hearing after serving in World War II. “I had ringing in my ears,” Tyler said. “And gradually it got worse or worse over the years.” He got hearing aids, and learned to read lips. “It was very helpful,” Tyler said. “You use it unconsciously when you look at people. I can hear a lot better than if I go this way.” So when Tyler ended up at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center battling pneumonia, his doctors wearing traditional face masks made communication a challenge.
So they traded those masks for one with a clear opening at the mouth. It was an idea the hospital got from one of its bedside nurses, Cindy Schauer. She was struggling to communicate with a patient’s mother, who is hearing impaired.”Throughout the day I would have to step out the room take my mask down,” Schauer said. “Then foam in foam out, do all the sanitary things to get back in isolation. And after 12 hours I was frustrated for the mom. Because I’m like other people might not really try to let them read their lips. Plus it took a lot longer.” Schauer talked with her daughter, who is hearing impaired, and learned about a clear face mask called “The Communicator.”
“Necessity is the mother of all invention,” said Dr. Anne McIntosh, who developed The Communicator. McIntosh is also hearing impaired and relies heavily on reading lips to communicate. While in the hospital for more than 24 hours giving birth to her daughter, she was unable to understand her doctors and nurses who were all wearing traditional masks. “I just remember the fear that came over me during that encounter,” Dr. McIntosh said. “And it was so preventable had simply been able to follow the conversation.” She wanted to do something about it and came up with an idea; a face mask with a clear window. “It’s the little things in life that make a difference though right?” Dr. McIntosh said.
Now, The Communicator is the first FDA approved medical mask of its kind; one Dr. McIntosh believes can change the face of health care. “The better I can understand what you’re saying to me the better I can respond so that you can help me,” Dr. McIntosh said. “I need to be able to help you so that you as a health care or dental provider can assist me.” “It’s a great invention,” Tyler said. “Why somebody didn’t think about it before. I don’t know. But I figured it’s a great thing.”
A simple solution, clearing the way for something often taken for granted.
Thanks to everyone at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center and especially Cindy Schauer for her support!
If your hospital or practice would like to try out The Communicator and improve communication with patients, contact us Sales@safenclear.com.
Some great questions and comments were raised on this DPAN.TV post. Please allow us to share a few additional facts to help clear up any misunderstanding.
#1 Interpreters LOVE the Safenclear clear window mask because it helps improve their communication while providing much needed protection, Interpreters like Designated Interpreters LLC and Interpretek are some great customers;
#2 this clear window mask was designed to be used in surgical settings and has received FDA approval and ASTM certification as a Level 1 surgical mask;
#3 this patented mask has a unique NO FOG design. Give the mask a try and see for yourself. If you are not ready to buy, message us or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a sample.
Anne McIntosh didn’t plan to become an entrepreneur, but when she delivered her baby, her world changed. When she needed an emergency c-section, everyone donned masks. Hard of hearing, she lost her ability to communicate when she could no longer read lips. She’s spent 16 years bringing a transparent surgical mask to market.
Interview with Dr. Anne McIntosh, the President of Safe’N’Clear, Inc.
The following is the pre-interview with Dr. Anne McIntosh. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.
What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?
I could not lipread my medical provider during childbirth; what were they saying to me? My health and the health of my newborn depended on my ability to communicate and cooperate with those helping me. They were wearing protective gear (masks) that blocked my ability to see their lips. I partnered up with a US manufacturer who understood and had compassion for what I was going through and knew I was not the only one. Prestige Ameritech has partnered with Safe’N’Clear, Inc. to bring an FDA approved ASTM 2100 Level 1 face mask with a clear view to the market.
I did approach larger mask manufacturers in the past and they were satisfied with profit margins they were making in the masks that exist today on the market. They did not think there was enough “profit” to be made in this mask that would benefit children (reduce their fears and anxiety by being able to see the warm, caring smile of their healthcare provider) or the one in seven Americans who have a hearing loss and depend on lip-reading and facial expressions. Being a social entrepreneur means that you do what is right; while The Communicator will benefit these populations; truth is that EVERYONE gets additional understanding from looking at others during communication exchanges so The Communicator can become the gold standard for all masks. Think about this: Out of deafness, the world has the gift of telephones, Morse Code, and the Internet. These innovations were created to improve communication. The Communicator face mask with a clear view is such an innovation.
And, we have also identified ONE organization that we will support with our proceeds: Solace for the Children, Inc. is a non-profit organization that brings children from war-torn countries to the US for medical, dental, and optical care. We believe in their mission of building peace on a foundation of health. Solace has helped children of all kinds of medical issues, including hearing loss.
Safe’N’Clear, Inc. is a deaf-owned, woman-owned company that strives to make sure communication-friendly products are available. Right now, we are focused on a face mask that is used in medical and dental industries that healthcare providers can use that allows others to see more of their faces, facial expressions, and read lips. With 93 percent of the meaning in communication coming from non-verbal, The Communicator mask with a clear view is great for everyone.
Revenue model: Revenues stem from sales of The Communicator mask with a clear view, model FM86000
Dr. Anne McIntosh
Dr. Anne McIntosh’s bio:
Dr. Anne McIntosh is a college professor who has taught communication classes/workshops in the private sector and post-secondary level. She has published journal articles, edited book chapters, and authored three books related to communication. When she and her husband went to the hospital to deliver their first child, Dr. McIntosh quickly went from being a confident and competent “communication expert” to one who was unable to communicate effectively with her healthcare providers after they put on medical masks and she could not lipread what they were saying. Fortunately, all went well and mother and baby were fine; however, Dr. McIntosh knew this was not everyone’s outcome. Dr. McIntosh started on a quest to make sure that a medical face mask with a transparent window around the mouth was available to the US medical and dental markets.
Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!
Experienced Medical Interpreter, Alicia Booth of Designated Interpreters provides a video review of The Communicator™ clear window surgical mask.
During her 15 plus years as an interpreter, Alicia has emphasized the humanization of the interpreter process by customizing services to each deaf individual’s distinct needs. Her clients’ accommodations are tailored by style preferences, career goals, and environmental norms surrounding the unique world of deaf healthcare professionals. By focusing on these singular elements, Alicia has replaced traditional ideologies with a more progressive approach to the field of medical interpretation.
Alicia works alongside Deaf Professionals in their medical training and provides consultation, accommodation supervision, and advocacy support for Deaf healthcare professionals and their service providers. She regularly presents at national and local conferences like Associated Medical Professionals with Hearing Loss (AMPHL), CATIE’S National Symposium on Healthcare Interpreting, and the University of Southern Maine, on issues pertaining to best accommodations practices in high stakes environments. Topics have included “FUSION – An integrative approach with CART and Interpreters”, “Designing Designated Interpreters,” “Taboo Team Topics” and co-presented “The Evolution of Designated Interpreters”, and multiple DP and DI forums.