Quietyme Seeks to Identify Patients’ Needs Faster With CareCube

The newest product from Quietyme, a startup based in Neshkoro, WI, is a white cube with a different pattern on each of its six sides.

That description may conjure up an image of dice, which of course give games an element of randomness. But Quietyme’s CareCube is designed to reduce uncertainty: patients in hospitals can use it to request specific services, rather than pushing a generic call button.

“When you press the call button, nurses don’t know if you’re dying or want a glass of water,” says Quietyme founder and CEO John Bialk. CareCube was designed to save nurses up to six hours a week, he says.

The patent-pending cube is made of soft plastic and each edge measures three inches. Inside are a battery, a wireless transmitter, and an accelerometer, which can communicate to other devices when the CareCube is moved and which side is facing up.

One of the sides is a smiley face, indicating the patient is not currently in need of assistance. The other five faces trigger requests for food, water, housekeeping, temperature adjustment, and help using the restroom. Those are just the defaults, though—Bialk says hospitals can assign different symbols depending on what support services they provide.

Bialk says Quietyme, which launched in 2012 and now has 16 employees, got the idea for the device after reviewing studies that found nurses on average spent 16 percent of their time at work performing tasks that are technically someone else’s responsibility. “We want people to be working at their certification levels,” he says.

With CareCube, nurses no longer have to be the intermediary between patients and, for instance, the cafeteria. Patients simply use the device to contact the food service department and the person who delivers the meal flips the cube back over so the face is pointing up. Requests are automatically time-stamped, which helps workers triage calls and managers track productivity.

Health systems can only use CareCube if they’ve already installed Quietyme’s wireless network of sensors capable of measuring sound, temperature, humidity and light levels. The startup developed the sensors to address the problem of noise in hospitals, which can pose a health risk.

Chief operating officer Huey Zoroufy says over 30 hospitals are using the sensors. Quietyme’s customers include academic medical centers at the University of Wisconsin, University of Michigan, and University of Chicago, as well as hospitals in Alaska, Hawaii, New York, and California.

While Quietyme has explored putting its sensors in other types of structures—hotels and apartment buildings, for example—Zoroufy says the company’s “main focus is hospitals, where we’re actively selling.”

As with the sensors, Quietyme does not charge upfront for the CareCube hardware. Customers pay a monthly fee to use the service, which Zoroufy says is typically between $750 and $1,000 per nursing unit. A nursing unit is a hospital floor or wing with about 15 to 30 rooms, he says, and a cube goes into each room.

Zoroufy says Quietyme plans to start piloting the cube at several locations this fall.

The startup has raised $2 million to date, says Zoroufy. Of that total, $1.6 million  … Next Page »

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