by Dr. Anne McIntosh – Safe’N’Clear, Inc. Founder & CEO.
Our family started with the birth of their daughter. On a Friday evening, my amniotic sac broke; my husband and I checked into a large hospital in Charlotte expecting a normal delivery after a non-eventful 9-month pregnancy with regular prenatal visits. After more than 25 hours of labor, I was well-aware that my risk factors for infection were now increased. I informed the nurse on duty that my water broke more than 25 hours ago (the staff work on 8-hour shifts). The nurse notified the attending OB/GYN physician and the doctor determined a C-section was needed. I was taken to the OR and prepped for C-section. All personnel in the OR were garbed in surgical scrubs from head to toe, including facemasks — I could no longer read their lips and understand what they were saying to each other or to me. A white drape was placed between the OB/GYN and me so I could see nothing and could not piece together what was happening. On top of being tired, hungry, excited, and anxious, I had a hard time following verbal requests from health providers because I could not read their lips. Yes, my husband was there but he, too, was garbed in surgical scrubs and a face mask. In order to deal with what was going on and to keep my own sanity and blood pressure within reason, I made the executive decision to “shut down” and turned all decision-making and answering questions tasks to my husband in hopes that between him and the medical providers, they had the information they needed and everything would turn out all right. In a matter of minutes, I went from being a “doctor with a PhD who could communicate and articulate well” to a numbed, tired, fatigued patient who was counting on mercies and miracles all the way. Prayers were answered. All ended well… but I recognized how close this childbirth came to possibly not having a happy ending. Realizing that many people with hearing loss have experienced similar frightening situations or may face such a situation, I knew there was a better way and I had to find a solution. I spoke with my brother, an attorney, and described the situation (minus a few childbirth details) and told him how the problem could be resolved with a TRANSPARENT mask. And, here we are… an FDA approved ASTM-Level 1 surgical face mask with a clear window manufactured in the USA.
Safe’N’Clear, Inc. is pleased to announce RSS Medical Distributors (RSS) as an official distributor of the Communicator™ Clear Window Surgical Mask.
RSS specializes in niche healthcare product sales to military hospitals and VA facilities around the U.S. and abroad. RSS is acutely aware of the needs of active military service men and women and veterans, citing hearing loss as a huge component of their ability to understand their healthcare providers and treatment regimens. Many men and women in service are “hands-on” people who like to see the action; they tend to be visual learners, doers, and listeners so they will want to see their healthcare and dental care providers’ faces when interacting during appointments.
RSS is also aware of the need to minimize noise in the operating room. A report published by The Joint Commission on August 14, 2017 found that too much noise in the operating room can distract surgeons and increase the risk for medical errors. With so much noise in the O.R., surgeons and operating room staff often find themselves having to speak louder than normal in order to communicate with each other. Knowing that this is an active concern at the VA, RSS and the Department of Veteran Affairs are currently collaborating to create solutions to help reduce noise in the O.R. RSS plans to utilize the Safe’N’Clear Communicator™, with its clear communication window, to help providers reduce the need for elevated voice levels while communicating during a surgery case by having the ability to visually see what members of the surgical team are trying to communicate, therefore helping increase overall communication and decrease additional noise levels in the operating room.
RSS Medical Distributors is a certified minority-owned, small-disadvantaged business. For more information about RSS and other products they carry, contact Quedon Baul directly.
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!
Safe’N’Clear and Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Losses (AMPHL) are proud to announce a partnership to help promote the Communicator Surgical Mask and AMPHL’s mission to promote advocacy and mentorship and create a network for individuals with hearing loss interested in or working in health care fields.
Beginning today, 5% of any and all purchases of The Communicator Surgical mask through the AMPHL website will be donated to AMPHL to help grow and expand our operations.
The Communicator form Safe’N’Clear is the world’s first and only FDA-approved see-through surgical mask. The see-through/transparent surgical mask is designed to improve communication for deaf/hard of hearing patients. While designed with deaf patients in mind, The Communicator has seen unintentional applications which transcend the Deaf population. This novel product can improve communication and reduce the potential for medical errors which may stem from miscommunication in operating rooms and other patient settings. It also has applications in pediatrics, as the mask provides a sense of comfort for children to see the facial expressions of their parents/guardians.
This is truly a product that improves communication and fosters connection for everyone, not just deaf/hard of hearing patients. AMPHL encourages anyone working in or affiliated with healthcare facilities (i.e. hospitals, clinics, dental offices, vet offices, etc.) to purchase a box or case of these novel see-through surgical masks.
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.
We are committed to helping our friends and families dealing with hearing loss.
Are you a person dealing with hearing loss? If you are hard of hearing, deaf or late-deafened, or have a friend or family member struggling with hearing loss, SayWhatClub (SWC) might be just what you are looking for. SWC is for anyone dealing with hearing loss who would like to learn more about coping and to socialize with others who ‘get it’. Family members are always welcome and encouraged to attend.
SayWhatClub (SWC) is a wonderful place to connect with others who have similar experiences. Check out SWC Voices for lively online conversations with people who understand hearing loss. Subscribe to any of the 10 Mailing Lists, Learn more about SWC Special Interest Groups.
SayWhatClubbers have been gathering annually since 1996! The convention offers an opportunity for those who belong to our online community to meet face-to- face. Whether it’s your first time attending or a long-standing tradition; whether you are a part of our online groups, or not, you’ll feel empowered by spending time with others who ‘get’ you, and who believe there is no right or wrong way to live with hearing loss and deafness.