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Clear-Com’s FreeSpeak II Vastly Improves Critical Medical Comms for Houston-based Medical Center


Hyperbaric chambers and hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) found their initial scientific application in treating decompression sickness (colloquially referred to as “the bends”), which led to it being used in broader cardiac and digestion conditions. Today, it has snowballed into treating and speeding up the healing of a wide variety of ailments from burn injuries to non-healing wounds, and even traumatic brain injury. Clear-Com® wireless solutions are enabling a Houston-based medical center to enhance communication between hyperbaric technicians who are continuously monitoring patients from both inside and outside the chamber.

Like all medical environments, efficient staff communication is a crucial element for hyperbaric protocol in treatment clinics and is essential for safety and the proper care and supervision of patients. Hyperbaric chambers typically come delivered with a built-in communications setup to facilitate interaction between the staff members during ongoing therapy sessions. However, the integrated comms system was simply just not adequate for this medical center’s needs – the sound was tinny, often unclear, and it didn’t provide the long-distance range and coverage the customer required.

After some trial and error, the medical center turned to Broadcast Technical Services (BTS) in Houston to help with these challenges, who recommended and supplied a Clear-Com FreeSpeak II® Wireless Intercom System, including transceiver, beltpacks, and headsets. The FreeSpeak II solution provides four channels of communication and supports a range of up to 300 feet, which offers a vast improvement over a standard intercom.

“Before reaching out to us, this customer was using another professional-grade comms system, but it often failed,” adds Michael Hobart, Vice President – Sales at Broadcast Technical Services. “The oxygen pressure within the hyperbaric chamber is increased two to three times higher than normal air pressure, which was simply too much for the equipment to hold up against, and the boards inside the beltpacks were physically bending and shorting out. Clear-Com’s reliability really shines, proving it’s the wireless professional comms system of choice for these types of environments. For decades their solutions have been well-known in the medical industry for their robust usability, ease of use, and quality standards.”

This medical center required a wide scope of communication coverage for the hyperbaric area to connect a full medical team - the physician or assisting attendant inside the chamber who supervises and assesses the patient, technicians outside of the chamber who are operating and maintaining the chamber, and a variety of support staff who may even be in adjacent rooms.

“When it comes to voice communications, this customer needed something with exceptional clarity, something easy to use, and a hands-free operation that helps with multitasking and cleanliness,” comments Michael Hobart. “Now, they’re able to communicate as a team anywhere far more effectively in the hyperbaric area and beyond, which they report has stepped up their teamwork and productivity. Their conversations are now much clearer, and they’re not limited to one-way communication.” The customer has also commented that the system affords more patient privacy – allowing them to handle any type of rapid response situation that may arise. Since they’re now on a wireless system, they can move anywhere in the chamber, even outside of the hyperbaric room, and still stay in touch - clearly.

The FreeSpeak II base station sits neatly next to the hyperbaric chamber control console area, with a transceiver sitting on top of the chamber to centralize the communication range. The system can be scaled in the future, depending on how many doctors, nurses, and technicians are staffed for a particular patient case. Plus, it supports many different interfaces, so it can be seamlessly connected to a range of intercom systems to share channels and increase the range of communications.

After switching to the FreeSpeak II system, the hyperbaric medical staff have improved team communications during patient procedures helping patients receive enhanced care in a calm and well-organized manner. The customer reported back to BTS, “I have great confidence in the Clear-Com FreeSpeak II that it will keep our team connected through each therapy session, so we can better serve our patients. It just works, and it works well.”