Technology Integration Reduces Costs and Increases Efficiency at Hospital

July 15, 2011
Building-management system extended to new facility

To better serve the health-care needs of west central Indiana and eastern Illinois, Union Hospital in Terre Haute, Ind., embarked on a five-story, 575,000-sq-ft expansion incorporating spacious private rooms, improved parking, and convenient access.

Construction of a new facility drove the need for enhanced integration across the campus. Hospital executives sought to expand the building-management system and install integrated fire and security systems. To meet those needs, hospital administrators enlisted Johnson Controls.

Seeing Is Believing
After visiting Johnson Controls' headquarters in Milwaukee to see the company's Metasys building-management system and wireless temperature controls firsthand, hospital executives switched from a wired approach to a wireless one, saving more than $50,000 in the process.

Going wireless eliminated the need for conduit stub-ups for temperature controls and the need to pull the communications bus. Because the wireless platform also eliminated the need for room-thermostat rough-ins and BACnet communication wiring for 400 patient rooms, the construction team was better equipped to meet other project deadlines.

Safety and Security
A common standards-based platform enabled Johnson Controls to integrate technology providing campuswide fire-alarm and security solutions. The new facility and the four existing facilities feature a Johnson Controls IFC2-3030 fire-alarm system and P2000 security-management system. The P2000 system is integrated with IP-card readers to monitor doors across the campus. Additionally, when a fire alarm is triggered, members of the hospital staff can monitor activity through the Metasys system to determine the best course of action.

The Metasys system also is used to monitor and control HVAC systems and equipment in the other facilities, as well as at the hospital’s second location in Clinton, Ind.

Innovative Security Solutions
The new hospital brought a challenge unique to health care: the security of prescription-drug drawers. The same IP-card readers used at entrances across campus were installed and integrated with the P2000 system to monitor and control access to 36 drawers in the pharmacy. Authorized personnel now can dispense medicines as needed with the swipe of a card.

Systems integration was paramount for the hospital.

"I was very pleased to see that the fire-alarm system could be integrated with the expanded Metasys system," Dave Snapp, director of construction development for Union Hospital, said. "It brings added value to the Metasys system we already had in place while giving us the ability to monitor and control systems from a single location."

The Metasys system is maintained by Johnson Controls under a planned-service agreement that includes preventive maintenance on variable-air-volume boxes, air handlers, and YORK chillers. The goal is to continuously fine-tune the system and implement energy-efficient strategies to optimize HVAC-equipment performance and reduce operational costs.

Future Integration
Union Hospital has future-ready technology in place. The access-control system is being upgraded continually campuswide. This includes interfacing with the digital-video-recording system and surveillance cameras. Also, the hospital is a beta test site for Johnson Controls’ new power-over-Ethernet card readers.

With the time, cost, and energy savings being realized, the integrated technology supports Union Hospital’s goals for providing compassionate, efficient, and high-quality patient-care services.

"Our goal was to provide ... a modern facility offering a healing environment, a focus on the patient, and a respect of the environment," Kym A. Pfrank, vice president and chief information officer, said.

Information and photograph courtesy of Johnson Controls.

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About the Author

Scott Arnold | Executive Editor

Described by a colleague as "a cyborg ... requir(ing) virtually no sleep, no time off, and bland nourishment that can be consumed while at his desk" who was sent "back from the future not to terminate anyone, but with the prime directive 'to edit dry technical copy' in order to save the world at a later date," Scott Arnold joined the editorial staff of HPAC Engineering in 1999. Prior to that, he worked as an editor for daily newspapers and a specialty-publications company. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Kent State University.