INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL

A Medical Enhancement

Located in Marin County in Northern California, Marin- Health Medical Center is a 327- bed, independent medical facility serving the North Bay community. Since its opening in 1952, MarinHealth Medical Center has seen many changes, including a steady increase in its surrounding population. New mandates require hospitals to implement various regulations and seismic safety precautions by 2030. This ultimately led to the construction of a state-of-the-art hospital for the North Bay region, and in the fall of 2020, MarinHealth announced the official opening of Oak Pavilion.

Oak Pavilion is a 260,000 square foot, four-story cutting-edge facility focused on patient-centric care with sustainable building design and enhanced safety and security. The pavilion promotes best practices through private and single patient rooms, complete with separate hallways and elevators for staff and visitors. The new design reduces traffic in public areas, protects patient privacy and minimizes potential virus transmissions.

NEW COMMUNICATION CHALLENGES

As MarinHealth Medical Center embarked on its $535 million expansion, an important aspect of the project involved designing strategic paths of communication between staff and visitors for the overall improvement of workflow and building security.

Expansive in size, the new facility included an intensive care unit, an emergency department triple the size of the previous one, three operating rooms, a maternity care unit with private rooms, and an expanded neonatal intensive care unit. Each of these areas required a system that allows doctors, nurses, and other staff to travel freely between patient areas and waiting areas, while also providing visitors with a simple and secure way to communicate with the staff in each department.

There was also a need for rescue assistance towers outside the hospital. These towers provide additional levels of security, and ways for requesting medical assistance.

There are customized call stations in more than 30 anterooms. Anterooms are containment barriers, separating patient rooms from visitor walkways, designed to minimize contamination and increase patient privacy.

As nurses would be required to request access to anterooms before requesting access to patient rooms, single-button call stations could not be used in these areas. Rather, the hospital needed flush mount intercoms with multiple call buttons.

When choosing an intercom system for Oak Pavilion, MarinHealth Medical Center required a comprehensive system that could meet the communication needs associated with all locations. They needed intercoms to integrate with the access control system, their CISCO SIP phone system, as well as provide video for enhanced security and visitor identification. The system needed to be multifaceted and scalable, not only in the quantity of networked devices, but also in the paths and destinations of communication.

A COMPREHENSIVE AND CUSTOM SOLUTION

Nick Tournis, IT operations consultant at MarinHealth Medical Center, worked with Aiphone to identify the best solution for meeting the hospital’s needs. The intercom series that was chosen, encompassed all the different communication needs, as well as provide flexibility for expansion. “We ended up choosing Aiphone’s IX Series. It was the best option to meet our needs,” Tournis said. “It’s future-focused, networked and features an IP-based system, all of which are ideal for a state-ofthe- art medical facility.”

Aiphone’s IX Series door stations are generally equipped with one button. To meet the needs of Oak Pavilion however, a unique and customized station was created for the anterooms, adding three extra buttons to each door station. Two buttons were designed for calling the patient room and nurse station. The remaining two buttons were designed to be customized by the staff, to communicate with priority areas such as the main desk, reception area or any other relevant room in the facility.

Intercom stations were installed in medical and surgical rooms, waiting rooms, Intensive Care Units (ICU), and Newborn Intensive Care Units (NICU). Many of the call stations in these areas are equipped with card readers that are wired back to the hospital’s access control system, allowing authorized staff to use their badges to get inside at these locations. The intercom stations in these areas also provide video, allowing for additional monitoring in cases of suspicious activity.

According to Tournis, the system solves a number of pain points for the hospital, especially in regards to improving visitor and patient experience. When a visitor or patient arrives and pushes an intercom button, a call is made to a primary station, or front desk/lobby area. In cases where the primary station is not answered, Oak Pavilion is also using a roll over feature. This allows the primary call to be transferred to a designated secondary master station, where authorized staff at that location can determine how the call should be addressed.

Using the Aiphone IX series, Oak Pavilion was able to solve their communications needs with one intercom system. The system will address their perimeter access communication needs, provide the standard communication needed in ICUs and NICUs, and it addressed the potential need to make emergency duress calls both inside and outside the facility.

This article originally appeared in the March 2022 issue of Security Today.

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