Published in the June 2011 issue of Today’s Hospitalist
IF YOU SEE A MINIATURE TRAFFIC LIGHT sitting at a nursing station or hanging from the wall the next time you’re walking down the hallway of your hospital, you might want to keep your voice down. You’re likely approaching a Yacker Tracker, and you’ll get a very public rebuke if you’re making too much noise.
That’s because the device uses the familiar colors of a traffic light to warn when noise levels are critical. If the light on the Yacker Tracker is green, noise levels are appropriate. When noise levels rise, the device will flash a yellow light. The light turns red when it’s too loud.
The Yacker Tracker lets users define just how much noise is too much. Several hospitals using the device have set 60 decibels as the cutoff point. (A noisy restaurant, by comparison, registers at about 70 decibels.)
Angela Jordan, national sales manager for Learning Advantage, the distributor that wholesales the Yacker Tracker, says that the device is most popular among educators. One of the more unique uses she’s heard about? Speech pathologists using the device to teach voice projection.
But Ms. Jordan points out that hospitals are beginning to catch on. One hospital has connected the device to its lighting system, so when noise levels get too high and the Yacker Tracker’s red light comes on, the overhead lights dim. Other hospitals have used feedback from the device to make specific changes, like fixing metal doors so they don’t slam and installing new doorway thresholds so they make less noise when carts roll over them.
While the device has been described by some as "toy-like," it fits just about any budget at under $100. And it’s likely to get the attention of just about everybody who walks by.
The Yacker Tracker is available at www.educatorsoutlet.com.