“The emerging trend in healthcare infrastructure is the use of Information technology (IT) to optimize the interaction between building automation, risk management and medical equipment. Also, enterprise application for assimilation of systems and applications is being employed by healthcare players to address the growing need for improving internal processes, enhancing operational efficiencies and to ensure patient satisfaction. The main reason behind the growing acceptanceof advanced IT infrastructure & Enterprise application is the mandatory open door policy of hospitals which unfortunately also poses a security and safety risk for the facility.
The major concern areas in a hospital range from
- Inadequate security systems to prevent violence
- Inefficient alarm systems to handle emergencies
- Unstable power systems that cannot sustain life-saving medical devices
- Poor indoor air quality causing airborne infections machines
- Failure of IT systems that support electronic health records (EHRs)
Not surprisingly, with the need to meet the demands of efficient patient room management, healthy indoor climate, emergency power supply as well as surveillance, access control and emergency alarm systems, all at the same time, an increasing number of hospitals are incorporating advanced building systems to support medical services.
An “intelligent” infrastructure can not only enable a secure hospital environment but also improve quality of care.
A fully integrated patient terminal enables nursing staff and physicians to access patient’s medical records digitally stored centrally on a server at all times and offer patients control over room light and temperature, communication and entertainment option.Besides, computer integration system supports barcode medication, patient identification systems and electronic health records. Also, the integrated power distribution system ensures unmitigated quality power and instant emergency backup to ensure electrical-powered machinery for life support, kidney dialysis, and other sophisticated treatments continue to operate uninterrupted.
Additionally, centrally controlled room ventilation systems maintain the required thermal room climate, ﬁlter microorganisms, dust, anesthetic gases and odors in the air to minimize mold, fungi, and bacteria buildup. And to provide fresh air in operating rooms, outdoor ventilation is integrated into the air circulation system. On the other hand automatically monitoring and maintaining humidity and air pressure in real-time ensures that building systems conform to prescribed standards, thereby reducing airborne infections and maintaining healing conditions for the patients.
Similarly, the automated solutions for IT infrastructure and data centre power and cooling help protect EHR system and ensure access even during emergency situations. In case a poisonous substance leaks out in the building, the automated system isolates it quickly and the complex access patterns provide data protection and secure access to medicines and laboratories.
Whereas, the integration of security systems help smoke and heat dissipation and activate escape routes in case of emergency. In case of fire emergency, the building automation system stops the ventilation at the ﬁre source and controls the supply and exhaust air for fast containment of the ﬁre. The Integrated video surveillance mitigates physical intrusion, interoperates with intrusion alarm system for the monitoring of sensitive areas and equipment and remotely triggers access control alarms, recording images as well.
Integrated Safety & Security Products for Healthcare
There are various advanced systems available today, wherein medical records, video surveillance equipment, emergency power systems and ventilation controls, all are migrated to a centralized network to support a safe environment for patients and workers.
Total building solution from Siemens is based on a wide variety of products for building automation, energy-saving contracting, energy generation & distribution and security technology. The system offers holistic integration of all systems within the building technology infrastructure – heating, ventilation, climate, cooling, energy generation, emergency power and energy distribution, access control, video surveillance, ﬁre detection, alarming, evacuation and extinguishing. In addition, further building technology systems such as lifts & escalators, water technology systems, laboratory, medical technology systems and monitoring of information & communication systems can be integrated via standardized interfaces.
Bosch Building Integration System (BIS) integrates Bosch’s own portfolio of security systems such as CCTV, access control, intrusion detection, personal security and paging, evacuation, fire alarm as well as products and systems from other manufacturers through industry-standard protocols. Bosch FlexiDomeXT plug-and-play, vandal-resistant, fixed-dome cameras are apt for surveillance and evacuation in case of emergency while NightSense automatically switches cameras from colour to the high-sensitivity monochrome mode enabling round-the-clock surveillance. In addition, the CCTV surveillance system can be integrated with Bosch pagers which can help identify a handicapped person or a wheelchair user needing help and through the paging system alert the staff.
Likewise, the fire alarm can be set to silent call and automatically transferred to the security staff pagers integrated into the system in a split second. Thus, the information about the location of the fire reaches appropriate personnel for immediate action without creating panic among patients and visitors. Furthermore, the baby tagging helps avoid baby abductions and the advanced IP-based systems allow parents to observe hospitalized child in ICU from home via a dedicated website.
Schneider Electric’s intelligent infrastructure solution ‘EcoStruxure’ enables communication between the key areas of the hospital from electrical and HVAC rooms to the security desk, operating theatre, pharmacy and patient room. It also provides opportunities for predictive maintenance ensuring resolving of issues before they become dangerous.
The system also provides an interface that can be customized to specific needs and areas. For instance, a facility manager would have access to all systems, security in charge will be able to access information related to safety & security equipment and asset tracking systems whereas, the nurses’ station dashboard will include the ability to monitor and respond to temperature, lighting, nurse call and patient related information. On the other hand, an executive level interface shows energy usage, staff efficiency data and other key performance indicator reports.
Healthcare Environment Optimization (HEO) by Johnson Controls integrates hospital’s building automation system with surgery scheduling to optimize air exchange rates and energy use. The system routes data from surgery scheduling to the building automation system and determines the HVAC system modes to be used – surgery or standby. When in surgery mode, the HVAC system achieves a minimum number of air changes every hour to meet regulatory standards.
In standby mode, air exchanges are lowered while differential pressures are maintained. It also tracks air exchange rates and OR temperatures for recordkeeping purposes. The user interface display gives staff better visibility and control of the room conditions including a manual override to adjust temperature and real-time alarms.
Honeywell Comfort Solutions for healthcare includes temperature and zone controls for individual patient rooms, surgical suites, laboratory, research areas & buildings, programmable thermostats, whole-building humidification systems and ventilation & air filtration systems. Honeywell Building Manager, a powerful enterprise-level solution provides convenient, single-point monitoring and control of hospital building’s HVAC, lighting, energy management and climate control to ensure a consistently comfortable healthcare environment.
The Honeywell Asset Locator shows the location of all equipment in an emergency, enabling quick response time. The system also enhances the safety of those working in high-risk areas such as psychiatric wards. Alternatively, Honeywell Enterprise Buildings integrates access control, patient protection, real-time tracking of people and assets, fire and life safety and digital video management into one uniform system.