Computer-assisted communication for critically ill patients: A pilot study

Maurizio A. Miglietta, Grant Bochicchio, Thomas M. Scalea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Background: Critically ill nonverbal patients often have limited means of communication through eye-blinking, communication cards, and occasionally writing. We evaluated a novel computer communication device to determine its clinical utility as an alternative form of communication between patients and hospital staff. Methods: We conducted a prospective pilot study to evaluate a communication system (LifeVoice™) for intubated nonverbal trauma patients. Patients and hospital staff completed questionnaires regarding product satisfaction and utility on days 1, 3, and 7. Results: Patients (n = 35) felt the system assisted them in obtaining their needs (>90%). Hospital staff (n = 42) felt the device improved patient care (96%) and comfort (91%). Conclusion: The system evaluated offers an effective alternative to traditional means of communication in the intensive care unit. Computer-assisted communication improves patient comfort and allows advanced patient participation in medical care. Further studies will determine whether this modality objectively improves patient care by promoting a higher degree of safety and reducing medical errors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-493
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2004


  • Augmentative and alternative communication
  • Augmentative technology
  • Communication
  • Communication aid
  • Communication device
  • Computer-assisted communication
  • Computers
  • Intensive care unit
  • LifeVoice
  • Nonverbal patients
  • Patient comfort


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