The Heartbeat of Healthcare

Opportunities offset challenges and regulations


Although increasingly interested in wireless signaling, Stankevich said cost containment is still foremost on the minds of the healthcare organization, which have legacy systems in place, especially in older infrastructures. “In my travels, I see that end users shop around more and are knowledgeable about what they are buying. They are up on technology and are using managed services, especially on third-shift staffing in primarily unoccupied buildings.”

Stankevich advised systems integrators to join and become active in IAHSS and get to know healthcare personnel at the hospital. “That way, you can really get to know what their concern is truly. With IAHSS you get to know recent news from TJC and OSHA as well as other regulations through this one organization,” he said.

Systems integrator David Alessandrini, vice president of Pasek Corp., in Boston said the sheer magnitude of the different challenges in the healthcare vertical market can be daunting. “There are a lot of different scenarios that have to be considered in the healthcare vertical market,” Alessandrini said. “There are numerous challenges working in patient areas and there’s also infectious disease control risk assessment. When we work in those areas, we have to take special precautions and have to work in a tent. Employees have to go through a certification process and this and other parameters add expense to the job,” he said.

Tips to working the vertical market successfully

John Krumme CPP, president and CEO of Cam-Dex Security Corp., Kansas City, Kan., said infectious disease is a major challenge working in the vertical. “There’s certainly more of an investment on the integrator’s part,” he said. “We have worked in hospitals for over 20 years, and the rules and regulations have changed over the course of time. But we have found that regardless, the most important thing for the integrators to do is present products that satisfy the end user’s objectives. You also have to have technicians factory trained and certified on technologies so that the healthcare facility director or bio medical director or others are totally comfortable with your knowledge and capabilities and those of your employees,” Krumme said.

Alessandrini added that hospitals have many different areas with special requirements, such as the maternity ward requiring special annunciation and locking, as well as delayed egress and areas where patient wandering may be a concern or emergency lockdowns come into play. Krumme added that Cam-Dex’s priority is consultative selling, holding ongoing discussions with healthcare customers about employee safety, especially because of the 24-hour operation and the proliferation of female staff and remote or onsite parking facilities. “Emergency or mass notification means getting a pre-recorded message out with directions on where employees need to move to in the event of a tornado or an active shooter. Many of the hospitals today are doing drills for active shooters,” he said.

Brad Wilson CPP and president of RFI Communications & Security Systems in San Jose, Calif., commented that the community of the hospital has changed dramatically. “You are talking about an environment where there are injuries, crowding and gangs in the emergency rooms, sensitive data areas, psychiatric wards and issues with nurses going to parking lots in all hours,” said Wilson. “There’s an overarching need for security but hospitals need funding and they don’t open the ‘safe door’ too often,” he said.

Getting a rapport will pay in reward

Wilson said healthcare facility managers and security directors want integrators who understand their environment not only today, but in the future. “They want the ability to respond quickly to a power outage or an epidemic. They do a lot of training of personnel and are conducting sessions on active shooters awareness and preparation for certain incidents,” he said.

Understanding their needs and providing a migration strategy is critical to the healthcare environment. “They want video surveillance but need to be able to migrate at will and use what they currently have until they can make the move to new technology. They want proven solutions. They are traditionally not bleeding edge, but looking for tried and true.”

Wilson said RFI Communications & Security Systems is a member of IAHSS and also familiar with and well-versed on the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), Sacramento, Calif., TJC as well as NFPA codes and standards and even seismic retrofit requirements.