Touching patients with technology

Safe and secure premises predicate healing


Texas Scottish Rite Hospital For Children (TSRHC) in Dallas is a perfect example of how the healthcare industry is changing and morphing to address the patient and their specific needs in the healing process. TSRHC is governed by a board of trustees who are members of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in Texas. It is the only Scottish Rite Hospital in the world and is not affiliated with Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Staff always greets visitors and escorts them on their visit, in order to facilitate closeness between the young patients and ease their fears. Stickers for the children indicate which area of the hospital they are to go, with signs corresponding to these logos. Sports memorabilia and other areas where children and their families can feel at home, play and laugh are integral to the facility.

Tranquil and healing

"TSRHC is designed with the child in mind," said Carlton Stewart III, director of Security. "It's the culture of the hospital. We don't point patients in the right direction; we take them where they need to go," he added.
Scottish Rite has a central control station in-house that monitors close to 150 cameras (analog) and DVRs that record 30 days of storage. "This system does everything I want," Stewart said, "but I know the contractors have been trying to get me to change over to NVRs."

The hospital also uses a system at the front entrance called Raptor, which scans the identification of vendors and others and verifies their identity against the National Sex Offenders Registry. Houston-based Raptor Technologies Inc. pioneered the technology that screens visitors for sex offenders nationally.

Integrator expertise in action

Control Services Inc. of Omaha, Neb. is well-versed in the healthcare market, with about one-third of its business from that vertical. Control Services recently handled two impressive systems, including the systems integration at the Nebraska Medical Center Clarkson Tower Adult Intensive Care Unit. The system in the new patient rooms consists of integrated IP cameras and access control card readers, said Phil Fenton, Security Manager for Control Services.

"The intensive care unit renovation presented a couple of unique challenges that we were able to work through with the help of the local building contractor and our own equipment suppliers," said Fenton. "The dual-side wall medicine disbursement cabinets were unusual in that they required card reader access from both sides of the wall. This required custom sliding-door cabinets to be built and special card readers to be installed."

Control Services also coordinated the installation of 13 high-resolution Axis IP cameras with night vision capabilities and several card access readers throughout the intensive care unit. Each patient room has a motion-sensitive camera with PTZ capabilities that can automatically record up to 24 hours of video using Milestone recording software.

The cameras are networked to monitoring locations on the floor so that all patients can be seen at one glance, and to a backup monitoring station for additional 24 hour recording and observation. Each AXIS camera is equipped with night vision, which was essential to providing secure monitoring when the patient rooms were dark.

The card reader access control devices manage access to the floor and all patient rooms and work areas. In addition, access control card readers are installed on all patient room medicine disbursement wall cabinets and can be opened from either side of the wall. This custom feature creates a secure medicine storage facility for each room and a formal record of the name and time of anyone entering the patient medication cabinets.

"The individual room cameras have significantly improved our ability to monitor patients at anytime of the day or night," said Sandy Crites, Manager of The Nebraska Medical Center Adult Intensive Care Unit. "In an intensive care unit, everything is critical and the new technology we are deploying creates a more efficient medical facility and allows the staff to better manage its time."

Heal and recover

Control Services also recently installed a nursecall system and remote wireless communications network at the Jennie M. Melham Memorial Medical Center in Broken Bow, Neb.

The system was part of a new $12 million facility renovation and expansion program. The new addition contains 23 state-of-the-art private rooms, an expanded nurse's station with individual computer workstations, two labor and delivery suites, examination rooms and a new networked wireless computer and wireless telephone system.