Healthcare Technology Featured Article

June 21, 2012

Texas Children's Hospital Upgrading Processes for Tighter Security, Safety


Wouldn’t you want to know that if your child were in the hospital, monitoring operations to protect the premises – utilities, fire systems, elevator systems, security and visitation – were all working to the max 24/7?

Of course. But with outdated equipment and no money for new supplies, decreasing budgets and personnel, and the decentralizing of monitoring services, it has become a bit of a challenge for most healthcare organizations.

And it’s never been more important. Over the past decade, there has been nearly a 300-percent increase in the number of reported homicides, assaults and rapes, according to Homeland Security News Wire. 

The story reports that according to statistics from the Joint Commission, which accredits hospitals, there were 177 reported assaults, rapes and homicides at hospitals in the last five years, relative to 61 cases in the previous five years.

Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston hopes to change all that on its campus with a recent video infrastructure update in its service response center (SRC), responsible for a completely centralized, 24/7 monitoring solution.

Using two “Lifetime Illumination”-rated Digital Projection International (DPI) projectors, blended to form one large display, Texas Children’s Hospital’s SRC now monitors all aspects of the campus infrastructure and facilities.

In the past, decentralized teams monitored separate aspects of the hospital campus as individual units.  A provider of AV design and acoustical consulting services was brought in to change that by designing a system where the different groups could quickly and easily share information, especially in times of crisis.

“The overall goal was to create solutions that would foster open and seamless collaboration between all operators,” said Thaddeus Leopoulos, senior project consultant with HFP Acoustical Consultants, Inc.

One large room was designated as the primary operations headquarters for the previously separated teams; then eight work stations with their own dedicated monitors were installed to allow individual team members to work on their own tasks. Above it all, a 20-inch screen now serves as a central monitor so that everyone in the room sees the same thing in real time at the same time – crucial when you need to be aware of critical information immediately and spontaneously.

Even more important, critical details from one workstation monitor can be pushed to the central monitor in cases where a single operator needs to show the room their data feed. Touchpads are also used “to reconfigure the content layout of the screen wall, as well as reassign which screens feed which inputs,” according to a statement.

Every hospital and healthcare center is concerned about security. In other hospitals across the country, biometrics are used to identify authorized personnel, and screen out those who should not be coming into the hospital. Biometrics works by identifying certain traits and characteristics in a person’s face to be matched with the person each time he tries to enter the building.

And sadly, hospitals that used to be safe havens now see violence from their own cities spilling over onto their premises.

Recently in Bridgeport, Conn., one man showed up in the emergency room looking for another man who had been shot earlier in the day, allegedly a gang-related crime. 

Security couldn’t be more important, and Texas Children’s Hospital is taking it very seriously.




Edited by Braden Becker





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