Case Study | November 1, 2012

Unified Communications Unlocks New Opportunities In Healthcare

Source: ESI (Estech Systems, Inc.)

As a brand new building that first opened in November 2010, the Children’s Surgery Center was subject to rigorous codes and standards mandated by local and state jurisdictions. Beyond these codes however, the Center also had to meet the Agency for Health Care Administration’s (AHCA) standards for building and operational procedures for facility management, patient handling, and other ambulatory surgical center requirements. At the same time, needed to a find a way to minimize sanitation issues and implement safety measures while minimizing costs. The customer was guided by a national consulting firm that specializes in ambulatory surgical centers and healthcare facilities, and they were open to learning more about Estech Systems, Inc. ESI is a Plano, TX-based company that designs and manufactures high performance phone systems and cloud services for businesses and organizations. ESI’s Orlando-based reseller, KeyCom Telecommunications, stepped in to provide a solution for the Children’s Surgery Center with ESI’s telecommunication technology.

The ESI-100 Communication Server platform was the optimal choice.  For fixed locations, digital phones were installed, while for flexible locations, IP phones were installed, which specifically addressed and alleviated expansion and cabling concerns. Forty-eight-button phones provide one-touch dialing for most extensions. Surveillance cameras at the Patient Release area delivery doors, and a remote lock release/control feature were also installed to aid in controlling and monitoring the doors as an increased safety measure.

The Center uses two unique software features on the phone system, Presence Management and Access Control, which serve as an added security measure for the children and families who visit, and a sanitary measure for staff and patients alike. Access control readers were installed at Patient Release, the lobby leading into the patient prep area, and the door for the sterile corridor that leads to surgery rooms, to prevent entry without proper credentials and pre-scrub.

“A critical aspect of the construction was the ability to control access to the entrance of the sterile corridors and surgical areas, due to the daily rotation of doctors and nurses working in the facility,” explained Phil Medina of KeyCom Telecommunications. The Presence Management and Access Control features provide the Center with control over access and sanitation. Staff members wear proximity cards with ID stickers on them that link to the ESI system and control staff access to specific areas within the Center. For example, back office staff can access the building and general offices, but they are restricted from entering doors that secure the sterile corridor leading to the operating rooms. Likewise, surgeons, scrub nurses, and anesthesiologists can access the sterile corridor and operating rooms, but not the accounting office. This strategic limitation of access to areas decreases the chance of germs and diseases from spreading, keeping the entire building and all employees, patients, and visitors healthy and safe.

The Presence Management feature allows administrators to observe all staff members’ entry and exit from the building. When a staff member scans their proximity card at a reader to access a different area within the building, a signal is sent to the administrator, who can clearly and easily keep track of numerous staff members. This allows administrators to quickly find out which staff members are available in emergencies.

George Platt, president and COO of ESI, explained that one of the biggest installation obstacles was working within the regulatory and building constraints. There were inspections upon inspections and time was in short supply.  Having access control, presence management, phone, voicemail, and cellular integration bundled on the Communication Server proved to be efficient and the cost was within budget.  Using one platform, one technician, and one programming interface can make real-time changes to a multitude of otherwise disparate systems and credentials.

The Children’s Surgery Center gained complete control over access within the building in a cost-efficient manner through the installation and implementation of the ESI phone system. In any hospital setting, security is a top priority; and in a children’s hospital, it becomes a number one concern to keep the children both healthy and safe.

“We have lock systems in the center, and the ESI phone has a unique feature that unlocks the doors. This is an essential function of the Center, as it safely keeps our young patients and their families in the appropriate areas,” explained Shirley Mead, center director. She added, “Controlling patients and staff movement between specific areas also prevents germs from spreading across the hospital to other areas.”

The ESI-100 Communications Server has allowed the Center to expand the phone count with both digital and IP phones as needed.  The Center also has the option to integrate its surveillance cameras on the ESI platform.  With the Video Viewer application, access control events, door intercom calls, and camera motion detection, real-time video feeds can be viewed on desktop computers. Video Viewer also can control electronic locks with nothing more than a mouse click.  Combining this with the Media Manager reporting interface for video, access-control, call-recording, call-traffic and employee-presence events, the Center can have the most efficient, yet cost effective, facility management platform on the market.

“The ESI Communication Server is much more than a phone system,” says KeyCom Telecommunications’ Medina. “At least 30% of our target market has application for, and would benefit from, a single platform combining access control, presence management, and office telecom functions.  With options for integrated video monitoring, employee time and attendance records, VoIP applications, multi-office networking, teleworkers, SIP trunking, PC integration, unified messaging, and growth up to 1,000 ports, an estimated 95% of our market can be addressed with the ESI Communication Server platforms.”

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