Team communication at its best

Caring for frontline staff in infectious disease units

27 March 2020


In the face of unprecedented levels of rising demand on our healthcare system, protecting our frontline staff is the No1 priority. Not only because we need them all fully operational, but also out of a duty of care to those who are caring for the vulnerable and infirm.


Yet, the unfortunate reality is that frontline staff are at huge risk. From a shortage of appropriate protective equipment to communication shortcomings with whole body protection suits that render them incapable of fulfilling their purpose, the fact is that our ability to keep staff safe when dealing with infectious diseases is minimal.


Tom Downes, CEO, Quail Digital, outlines why wireless headsets must form an integral element of ensuring the effectiveness of whole body protection for frontline healthcare staff.


Compromised Communication

Covid-19 is putting global healthcare systems on the brink and key frontline staff under immense pressure - arguably more so than ever before - dealing with unprecedented levels of demand. In the US, the virus is shining a spotlight on the economics of the health system, exposing “inefficiencies and inadequacies” which are only going to get worse over the coming weeks and months. In the  UK, the army has been drafted in to help get deliveries of protective equipment to frontline staff and almost 4,000 NHS workers signed a letter in the Sunday Times calling on the prime minister to "protect the lives of the life-savers" and resolve the "unacceptable shortage of protective equipment".


Personal protective equipment (PPE) is key in protecting patients and healthcare workers by acting as a barrier between infectious materials such as viral and bacterial contaminants and the skin, mouth, nose, or eyes (mucous membranes). The barrier has the potential to block transmission of contaminants from blood, body fluids, or respiratory secretions. PPE may also protect patients who are at high risk for contracting infections through a surgical procedure or who have a medical condition, such as, an immunodeficiency, from being exposed to substances or potentially infectious material brought in by visitors and healthcare workers.


However, while critical, full body protective or personal isolation suits place constraints on healthcare workers’ ability to communicate, as nurses struggle with communication and raised anxiety. According to Dr. Ziv Tsafrir, “Protective suits afford no ability to communicate, so people resort to using sign language. When that doesn’t work, fewer members of staff wear the suits, which risks exposing them to the virus.” Clearly, finding a way of improving communication without compromising healthcare workers’ own health and safety, is critical.

Understanding the new operating room ergonomics in a technology dominated health service

9 December 2019


Technology led changes – from the addition of robotics to the adoption of surgical ‘space suits’ – are having significant implications for operating room ergonomics. As Tom Downes, CEO, Quail Digital, explains, the way multi-skilled, multi-discipline teams need to interact with both technology and each other is creating a pressing requirement for more effective OR communication.


'Hospital Hub' view article

'Building Better Healthcare' view article

'Digital Health Buzz' view article

Spotlight on in-store security

1 July 2019


Retailers have extremely robust protocols in place today to minimise the impact of crime in staff. However, the rise in violent crime has raised the stakes and it is incumbent upon retailers to consider the staff experience. As Tom Downes, CEO at Quail Digital, tells Manufacturing & Logistics IT, a real time response is becoming ever more important not only to support, safeguard and comfort staff during the incident but also present a far more robust deterrent.


'Manufacturing & Logistics IT' view article

Pro10 supports next generation retail experience

1 May 2019


Delivering a high quality customer experience is the number one retailer priority. From having the right stock, in the right place, at the right time; to minimising checkout waiting times; and having store associates who are engaged, knowledgeable and multi-faceted, communication within and throughout a retail estate is fundamental to the in-store retail experience.


We have been working with retailers to optimise the in-store customer experience since 2009, and our new Pro10 Headset system has a host of new features to help store staff to work even smarter as a team.


This headset has an entirely new design. The 16 hour battery life eliminates the need to have spare headsets waiting on charge as users can wear the same headset for the full trading day. A single touch-pad for the talk and volume replaces mechanical buttons, and improved ergonomic design and stronger nylon composite casing provides a tough, strong and contemporary design. The system allows up to 30 users to be in communication and facilitates real-time ‘above-store’ communication between head office representatives and in-store teams. So, for the first time, head office can send voice messages into the headset system using text-to-voice software through our digital interface, making sure that all members of staff hear communications loud and clear.


Of course, the enduring benefit of headsets is that every individual, irrespective of experience, can be far more confident, knowing that the entire team is connected and can help respond to any customer query. In doing so, our retail clients can unlock the breadth of talent within their teams, elevating staff beyond the traditional role of shelf-filler to fulfil customer expectations.


Tom Downes, CEO, explains, “A great in-store customer experience starts with engaged staff, and our customers understand that very clearly indeed. They use our headsets to work better as a team to meet their customers’ expectations. And so we’re thrilled to be introducing Pro10, which brings together all the design and features asked for by users and with an eye to the retail trends we see before us today, where efficiency, productivity, flexibility and training are at the forefront of retail thinking.”


Visit our 'Retail page' to learn more

Future of retail

28 Nov 2018


Technology is changing consumer expectations. From cashier free stores to interactive changing rooms, the trend of using a smoother shopping experience can now be seen throughout multiple retail stores. However, as Tom Downes, CEO at Quail Digital explains, it is only those retailers who understand the importance of combining these technological solutions with human interaction who will survive.


'A1 Retail' view article

EP/Cath Labs

6 Nov 2018


One of the key challenges for surgeons is to create a calm, organized environment that will alleviate pressure in the OR and improve staff well-being. This is particularly important in EP and Cath labs, as clinicians must overcome the barriers created by the natural cacophony of an operating room, staff undertaking more than one task at once and operating teams that are spread across multiple rooms.

To combat these restrictions, clear and immediate communication is key, particularly during critical points of a procedure. Adopting headset technology, such as our wireless systems, enables clinicians to perform their role in an assured manner. As Dr Ziv Tsafrir, a Fellow in Minimally Invasive Gynecology at Henry Ford comments, “Using Quail Digital’s wireless headsets during robotic procedures certainly contributed to better patient outcomes by creating a calmer environment for clinicians and staff.”

And as patient demand grows, headsets are an essential companion in a Cath/EP lab setting. A lack of clarity can create stress and blame amongst team members, but with the ability to hear instructions clearly this ambiguity can be avoided. A more attentive, focused team will also be key to reducing stress-levels, resulting in more effective workflows and treatment.

Woodie's case study coverage

29 Oct 2018


Providing friendly and knowledgeable staff, short wait times and good communication is absolutely critical for retailers, especially for those trading in the hardware sector. With this in mind, Ireland’s market leading DIY and home retailer, Woodie’s, has invested in Quail Digital’s wireless headset system to ensure a proficient and reliable service is covered across the entire store. From improving staff welfare to deterring shoplifters, the adoption of this tool has enabled Woodie’s to emphasise the personal, friendly and forward-thinking service they promise. Visit A1 Retail, Retail Technology and Plumbing Trade to find out more.


'A1 Retail' view article

'Retail Technology' view article

'Plumbing Trade' view article

Quail Digital’s next generation Pro9 for Quick Service solution supports new models of restaurant trade through multi-channel team communication

26 February 2020


According to Restaurant industry experts, technology will continue to drive change  in the restaurant experience in 2020.  Great execution of multi-channel fulfilment is the challenge because Smartphone Order Apps, home delivery, kiosks and table service are the choice of the new generation.


Quail Digital is a leader in wireless headset technology for the QSR industry giving customers well-designed, high quality, and reliable headsets for team communication in drive thru. The new generation of headset Pro9, changes the game to meet the challenges of multi-channel.


Progressive restaurants nowadays need three channels from their headset system: two for their drive thru lanes and one for the new multi-channel orders. Optimising productivity means having the right team members in direct communication. Three channels with a lot more range to cover the whole premises on every floor will help produce a far more effective and dynamic operation.


Tom Downes, CEO, Quail Digital explains, “Multichannel is a huge opportunity for QSR restaurants to build yield and depth to their business and it mustn’t be missed! Reliable execution is the key and so we need to think about how staff communicate to process the orders effectively, wherever they are on the premises, inside or out. Our new Pro9 platform has all the functionality business needs to thrive in this competitive environment.”


'Food and Drink Network' view article

Real-time Communication: providing another layer of staff protection

9 Sept 2019


Safeguarding employees is a priority for every retailer. From staff training to help prepare them to deal with a threatening situation to store alarms linked to 24 hour monitoring services, staff safety is paramount. But giving employees a real-time communication tool provides an increasingly necessary additional level of protection. As Tom Downes, CEO, Quail Digital, explains, real-time communication between staff is already proven to reduce shoplifting; adding instant - and visible - access to security expertise can be an active deterrent against violent crime.

It’s clear that retailers take staff safety incredibly seriously with spend on crime prevention across the industry at an all time high of more than £1 billion. But despite this, figures from the British Retail Consortium show violent crime is continuing to increase. The report shows that in addition to knives and guns being used in attacks, syringes and hitting implements are being used too. All of which can cause serious physical and psychological harm.

Of course, staff have always been well trained to deal with drunk behaviour and shoplifting. But with increasing violence prevailing, could retailers do more than rely on an under the counter panic button? What happens if staff can’t get to the alarm to press it; or even if they can, what happens next? On the other hand, a straightforward solution such as a hands-free individual headset, is a way for the standard 24 hour monitoring service to speak directly to staff – including those who might be in the stock room or on a break – to provide advice and guidance as to how best to proceed with the specific situation.

Moreover, criminals are proven to be deterred by retailers who use in-store communication  technology - retailers report a 25% reduction in shrinkage due to petty theft after providing staff with wireless headsets.  Extending this headset communication to include a 24 hour monitoring service not only acts as a further visual deterrence but can also deliver essential real-time support and expertise for staff when a dangerous situation occurs.

It’s clear that despite the efforts retailers are going to, in an attempt to reduce the risk of crime, a real-time response is becoming ever more important, not only to support, safeguard and comfort individuals during the incident but also present a far more robust deterrent.


Visit our 'Retail page' to learn more

Retail isn’t dead - it’s cyclical

1 June 2019


The retail industry is in a constant process of reinvention and the next cycle in retail success is now emerging: the desire for an interactive experience. In order to flourish in this new era of retail branding, and deliver an experience that truly reflects customer’s changing expectations, retailers need to provide not only an innovative service, but one delivered by engaged communicators working together in a team. Tom Downes, CEO, Quail Digital, explains all over on Retail Technology Review.


'Retail Technology Review' view article

Improving clinical communication

5 March 2019


With more than 50 community healthcare clinics across the UK, these organisations are an essential part of the healthcare system. And whilst they are investing vital time into evolving their structure and delivering a range of medical services, without the right technology in place staff productivity will suffer, hindering their ability to make the most out of the resources available. Tom Downes, CEO at Quail Digital, highlights why communicative tools are essential in order to improve operational efficiencies and to keep up with demand.


'Clinical Services Journal' view article

Queue systems

18 Dec 2018


There is now less and less tolerance for waiting in line, especially for Generation Z and Millennials. But with just 42% of shoppers having their speed expectations met, it is clear some retailers still have a way to go in providing the optimal experience. A1 delves into the world of queue systems and explores how retailers can provide the optimal in-store service, with the help of Tom Downes, CEO, Quail Digital.


'A1 Retail' view article

Easing The Mayo Clinic expansion with our wireless headset systems

15 Nov 2018


In a bid to cater to the number of increasingly complex conditions within the US, valued client, the Mayo Clinic has recently announced plans to double its campus size in an $800mn expansion. This funding will allow the Minnesota based medical centre to significantly increase the number of inpatient beds by a third, as well as creating up to 2,000 new clinical roles to better support patients. And while the expansion will significantly enhance their ability to cater for the growing needs of patients, it will undoubtedly have an impact on the level of stress and work pressures felt by those working at the hospital. It is therefore vital that they continue to implement the right tools to ensure every member is efficiently supported to help this expansion run as smoothly as possible.

The Mayo Clinic is continually improving its services, and building on their reputation as a leading hospital in the US. And as part of their dedication to providing the best healthcare service possible, the Mayo Clinic adopted our digital wireless headsets to provide discrete, hands-free wireless audio communication between physicians and the rest of the clinical team. As a clinic that specialises in cardiovascular diseases, the use of this wireless communication system, designed for clinical settings, is key to enabling a safer, more effective workflow during procedures.

As communication in a clinical room is never confined to a single setting, the implementation of headset technology is even more essential for this environment. We are all aware that there are many communication challenges that EP physicians and clinical physicians face on a daily basis in the lab, such as a noisy environment and large teams of staff. By unifying all team members through an interference-free solution, clinicians are able to improve clarity and accuracy between team members whilst also maintaining the required level of privacy.

As Tom Downes, CEO, Quail Digital, adds: “Headsets cut through the background noise of the OR giving the whole clinical team clear accurate communication between them, reducing stress levels and improving wellbeing of all those in the facility. We’re pleased to have a longstanding relationship with Mayo Clinic and look forward to working with them again.”

Study shows OR team wellbeing and communication is improved when using the Quail Digital Healthcare Headset System

29 January 2020


The recent published paper by Ziv Tsafrir et al., shows the impact of a wireless audio system on communication in robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery is beneficial to staff wellbeing.


As the authors state in the paper’s standfirst; robotic surgery presents a challenge to effective teamwork and communication in the operating theatre (OR). With strong evidence in literature that supports the importance of effective communication and teamwork in regards to patient safety in the operating room, the relevance of being able to evaluate the effect of using a wireless audio headset device on communication, efficiency and patient outcome in robotic surgery is therefore significant.


The study was conducted on patients that had surgery performed by OR teams in the Departments of Gynecology and Urology in the Henry Ford Health System. OR team members evaluated the quality of communication, performance, teamwork, and mental load using a 14-item questionnaire with and without the use of the Quail Digital Healthcare Headset System during surgery. Additionally, decibel-recording devices were used during each case to monitor the noise level in the OR in both phases of the study.


The study found the device significantly improved the quality of communication in robotic surgery. In cases where headsets were used, there was a decreased period of time with noise level above 70 dB, which to contextualise is the same level of noise as a domestic vacuum cleaner. Due to the noise cancelling capabilities of the headsets, team members commented that they could hear clearly during the case, needed to repeat themselves less and were less bothered or distracted by the noise in the OR when using the device.


With all team members, regardless of their role, sharing the same positive perception of the added value of using the headsets in robotic cases, the use of the Quail Digital Headset System is an obvious choice.


If you are looking to improve staff wellbeing through better OR communication, get in touch today.


view published paper

Excellent communication safeguards health, safety and wellbeing within the OR

5 August 2019


The adoption of innovative technology including robotics within the operating room (OR) is exciting, opening the door to previously impossible treatments, especially for patients with complex, chronic conditions. But it also increases the importance of excellent OR communication. With growing numbers of invasive surgeries,  intelligibility enabled by wireless headset technology is fast becoming a priority to ensure both today and tomorrow’s clinician and patient well-being. Tom Downes, CEO, Quail Digital, explains all over on Hospital Hub.


'Hospital Hub' view article

Shining a spotlight on in-store security

1 June 2019


Rising crime, specifically violent crime, is a concern for retailers. While stores are alarmed and often linked to 24 hour monitoring services, it is vital to question whether this is enough. As Tom Downes, CEO at Quail Digital, explains, when faced with an incident, staff need to be able to communicate not only with their colleagues across the store but also directly with the security experts at the monitoring service to gain essential assurance, instruction and protection.


'IT Security Briefing' view article

How retail success lies in focusing on the consumer

1 April 2019


Connected stores, transaction-less checkouts and RFID technology are just a few of the retail innovations that have plagued the industry in the past few years, with many retailers feeling the need to overhaul their experience to keep up. But, as Tom Downes, CEO at Quail Digital, explains, retailers really need to get the foundations right, and put the customer at the centre of the engagement, before trying to expand their in-store technologies beyond the essentials.


'Garden & Hardware Yearbook' view article

Combatting communication problems in community healthcare clinics

28 Feb 2019


The notion of a community healthcare clinic is constantly evolving from the traditional model of a local clinic staffed by general practitioners and nurses, serving rural populations. There is now a renewed interest in these organisations and their potential to deliver a more integrated care service within the community. But, in order to successfully make this transaction, are these clinics equipped with the right tools to foster a more productive, collaborative environment, and to ensure they’re able to cope with extra demand? Tom Downes, CEO, Quail Digital, explains all over on Healthcare Global.


'Healthcare Global' view article

Smyths Toys

7 Dec 2018


As one of the largest providers of children’s toys and entertainment products across Ireland and the UK, Smyths Toys continues to grow year on year. And as they expand into new markets, the retailer has implemented Quail Digital’s wireless headset systems to help create a valuable and efficient service across every store. The integration of this communication tool has not only enabled store associates to work more fluidly, but provided them with a platform to deliver a personalised, fun-filled experience for the customer.


'Retail Times' view article

Optimising Click and Collect at peak

13 Nov 2018


Click and collect is fast becoming the favoured delivery model for consumers, particularly around peak periods. And with customers expecting a seamless transaction, ideally in less than three minutes, retailers need to ensure the experience for this delivery method is as slick as any other. Tom Downes, CEO, Quail Digital, highlights how speed should always be key in order to deliver the desired service during peak trading.


'Internet Retailing' view article

Combating communication problems in Community Healthcare Clinics

29 Oct 2018


With an estimated 33 million people visiting Community Healthcare Clinics each year, these organizations are an essential part of the healthcare system. While they are investing vital time into delivering a focused range of services to the local community, without the right basic communication tools in place staff productivity will suffer, hindering their ability to make the most out of their resources.

From diagnostics to preventive treatment, clinical procedures and rehabilitation, delivering a diverse set of services can create a stressful environment if the team, from receptionist to clinicians, are wasting valuable time trying, without success, to speak to one another to seek answers to questions, locate the right individual and better manage the flow of patients through the appointments and procedures process.

Giving a lightweight headset to all members at reception and in the clinics will enable the team to reduce unnecessary delays, improve workflow and offer a much improved patient experience. Instead of relying on telephones that go unanswered, with wireless headsets staff are able to collaborate easily with discrete, immediate communication. Additionally, the ability to hear everything clearly, at all times, will facilitate a more tranquil environment, improve clinical operational efficiency, and reduce staff stress levels and thus their well-being.


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