Author: Karishma Muthukumar
Introduction: Communication is a crucial aspect of hospital care as patients express their needs and seek advice accordingly. Without a means of communication, decisions may be skewed, fragmented, or misunderstood. Patients in the Intensive-Care Unit (ICU) are often physically restricted from vocal expression due to the setup of various medical devices . In addition, language barriers for those who do not speak the standard language continue to cause disparities in the health care system. Furthermore, patients with complete “locked-in” status are not able to utilize current technology with their conditions. Modern communication boards do not meet the overwhelming need for assistive technology as the variations in formatting of existing boards lead to misinterpretation and lack universality . The proposed system will bridge the gap in communication. Methods: An electronic communication board based on emojis may surpass the abilities of a standard communication board when paired with Brain-Computer Interface. Due to their glanceable nature, emojis can be efficiently decoded. An electronic system will enable long-distance communication and will archive messages for later retrieval. Using the capabilities of Brain-Computer Interface and Artificial Intelligence, emojis can be effortlessly selected using brain waves instead of movements. The emojis will be categorized (i.e. Nature, Faces) for easy access by the user. A test run was conducted to test the viability of the proposed board. Participants were assigned the role of a patient or caregiver according to a random number generator. The patient would generate a given message using the assigned board. The caregiver would then enter a sentence or phrase based on the message received from the patient. The patient was to evaluate that interpretation by accepting, skipping, or asking for an alteration. Each group was given a set of messages and performed four runs as each person generated and interpreted messages using both types of boards. Data: Of the 20 messages tested using the standard board, 45.0% were accepted, 0% were skipped, and 55.0% were redone. The median interpretation time using the standard board was 2 minutes and 38 seconds. Of the 20 messages tested using the emoji board, 62.5% were accepted, 7% were skipped, and 30.5% were redone. The median interpretation time using the emoji board was 18 seconds. Conclusion: Based on the data collected, the electronic emoji communication board is a promising, and likely superior, method of communication. By reducing the interpretation time and giving users more freedom in their messages, the emoji communication board will result in better care of the patient. As supported by the data, the novel system reduces frustration associated with communicating and leads to more accurate interpretations. Understanding the needs of patients will result in an improved system characterized by direct requests and effective decisions.  Patak, Lance, Anna Gawlinski, Ng Irene Fung, Lynn Doering, Jill Berg, and Elizabeth A. Henneman. "Communication Boards in Critical Care: Patients' Views." Applied Nursing Research 19.4 (2006): 182-90. Print.  Happ, M. B., K. Garrett, D. D. Thomas, J. Tate, E. George, M. Houze, J. Radtke, and S. Sereika. "Nurse-Patient Communication Interactions in the Intensive Care Unit." American Journal of Critical Care 20.2 (2011): pag. Web.