Monday, December 13, 2010

TAGteacher Tale - TAGtone for Medical Students

Thanks to Dr. Karen McLean for telling us about her application of TAGteach with medical students.

I recently took the TAG teach workshop in LA and thoroughly enjoyed it. (Thanks Theresa and Hello fellow students!) I use tagging in the hospital environment where I teach medical students and residents, particularly in physical examination skills or procedures at the bedside. This has been enthusiastically received by the residents who all want their own taggers so they can practice in small groups (they are preparing for a major exam). For use at the bedside I want a "tag tone" that fits better (is less intrusive) in the hospital environment. The click is harsh and may be disruptive or annoying to some patients (we have few single rooms), if used repeatedly. Sadly the clicker plus is not readily available.

There is an iphone clicker app for a clicker but I have found nothing for blackberry (my device of choice), and the iphone app as far as I know only produces the "click". I want a higher pitched tone, more musical than metallic, that will blend better into the ambient background noise, yet still be audible to small groups at the bedside. Our IT guys suggested two options - one being to use the custom profiles (for setting alerts) on the BB and the "try it" function to trigger the tone - that proved to be a bust as the time delay is anywhere
from almost 1 to 3 seconds, even though there are some suitable tones already available on the device.

The second suggestion was to try an online sound generator and import it into the device (should work for any device). After a few unsuccessful attemtps I found a site that works like a charm and within about 5 minutes I was able to generate and load to my blackberry a couple of suitable tones. (my IT guys call me an "early adopter" - but I am definitely not a techno-geek.) On my device this plays instantly with a press of the trackball as long as I have it selected.

If you are interested in trying it out for yourself - here is the website and the steps I used - it is pretty intuituve.

This website is intended for generating morse code ring tones – but if you pick a single letter and adjust the SPEED, PITCH and SOUND functions you can get pretty much what you want. For example, the letter 'e' gives you a single tone, 'h' is a short burst and 'm' is biphasic. I like the pitch high (3) because I want it to be less audible to older folk (which includes the majority of my patients) who often have high frequency hearing loss.

The "make Morse" bar allows you to check out the sound and keep adjusting paramters until you have what you want. Then click on "this file" as per the instructions and it will bring it up as a file on a webpage by itself. If you use the "file" option on the menu bar and "send page by e mail" you can then get it on your device, down load the attachment to a ring tone file...and there you have it. (this last is a little different than the instructions on the website.)

To use it you just open the ring tone file, select the one you want and hit play.

Now, I can get rid of one more thing from my pockets and I will always have my "tagger" with me. Next I am going to see if I can find a sound that is close enough to a clicker to work with my dogs and I won't have to have a clicker in every room in my house and every carry bag I use for classes!

Karen McClean

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