Touching patients with technology

Safe and secure premises predicate healing


Control Services installed an Austco Nurse Call room system, integrated to the wireless communication network to make it easier for patients to communicate when they need help or assistance. By delivering a message directly to the appropriate nurse carrying a wireless device, the system enables the nurse to respond quickly to a patient need or request. The open system platform of the remote wireless and computer system also allows for easy future expansion and new system upgrades.

The system also creates an audit trail of events and how they were handled, saving nurses hours of paperwork when documenting patient activities. This automation increases caretaker productivity and accuracy, but more importantly, it puts the nurse back at the bedside.

Fenton said the hospital and healthcare vertical market has grown over the last several years. "Not only are hospitals becoming more secure, but now, employees and their visitors and patients are willing to accept a little inconvenience in trade for peace of mind with safety and security," he said. "Hospitals already have the network in place. With something like an infant protection system, we are able to integrate into the intrusion alarm, which then calls up the camera nearest to that alarm. It also allows the hospital to have a record of the event."

Fenton said the 'real estate' for the nurse's station is limited, so wireless mobility is critical. Intercoms over IP are another opportunity in the market, he added. "We start with a needs assessment to see how the user wants to manage their system and once we know that we match technology to the facility," he said.

Addressing analog installations

Randy Fierbaugh, national director of Healthcare Solutions Group for Niscayah Inc., Tampa, Fla. said this vertical has a large installed base of analog systems and lack of funding for upgrades, so it's important for the integrator to bring hybrid solutions to the table.

"It's all over the board right now as far as who's doing what in funding," he said, adding that many of the healthcare providers are waiting to see what the new National Healthcare Plan will mean for them.

"One of the big issues is the move from analog to IP and digital," he continued. "On new installs, 90 percent are IP video, although they do a fair amount of analog and many are using some sort of hybrid DVR technology. But definitely the trend is IP video, more IP access control and also infant protection systems, patient wandering and visitor management systems."

Fierbaugh said the convergence of systems in the vertical market will allow solutions to be monitored from one platform at multiple facilities and that's what the end-users in these facilities are looking for. "They want to be able to provide a centralized management of facilities that were traditionally off-site managed. Because of reduced budgets and manpower, they are moving to this type of centralized approach."

"You can create that with systems over access control and over the network," he continued, "and make managed systems more efficient and effective, such as visitor management, infant abduction so we're monitoring incidents or issues and exceptions which make the systems smarter and do more with less."

Another trend he sees is more facilities accepting third party and remote management and also, 'embedding' personnel from a third party within the facility to handle management of the system.

The healthcare market depends on technology and the solutions a security provider can offer as an integrated solution. Each facility is different, so it takes a sharp ear to listen to their needs and deliver what's best for the facility, the patients and the personnel.

HEALTHCARE AT A GLANCE

The U.S. has one of the largest medical and healthcare industries in the world, followed by Switzerland and Germany, comprised of more than 750,000 physicians and 5,200 hospitals. About 3.8 million in-patient visits and 20 million outpatients visits are logged daily. One in every 11 U.S. residents is employed in the healthcare business.

TECHNOLOGY FUELS HEALTHCARE PRODUCTIVITY

In the next 10 years, the healthcare market will focus on early diagnosis, digitized patient information that can be accessed from numerous locations, and "total solution" selling that contributes to healthcare productivity gains. Early diagnosis and prevention is enabled by emerging diagnostic technologies. For example, positron emission tomography (PET) is used to detect many kinds of cancer with great accuracy. A "paperless" hospital is another emerging trend. Digital patient records enable doctors to access patients' records-wherever the doctor is. In a digitized hospital, healthcare providers do not have to wait days for an x-ray to "come back from the lab" because the x-ray machine is digital and the image is instantly available. - Altera Corp.

TELEHEALTH TIP