How an integrated facility management platform is helping London Health Sciences Centre deliver healthcare excellence.
Maintaining an optimal environment for advanced patient care is no small feat. But Ontario-based London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is doing just that, thanks to an integrated facility management system.
Today, LHSC is comparable to a healthy human body, with an interoperable network of pieces and parts functioning in sync. The hospital’s facility management system connects the hospital’s core building functions, including heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC), security, life safety, and critical point monitoring, to enhance patient care and operational efficiencies across all of its facilities.
Reaching and maintaining optimal facility health, however, depends on a delicate balance of adequate planning, maintenance and flexibility — with a touch of innovation.
Road to integration
LHSC has 7400 staff members spread across three campuses — Victoria Hospital, South Street Hospital and University Hospital. More than 1 million patients visit LHSC each year, and the hospital is cited among North America’s top-rated healthcare organisations for patient care, teaching and research. It also is a recognised global leader in areas like robotic surgery, cardiac care, multi-organ transplantation and clinical neurological sciences.
Previously, LHSC’s three facilities operated separately, running on disparate systems that did not communicate with each other and left building managers without a complete view of activity across all campuses. This arrangement limited the efficiency of facility operations, including energy management, safety and equipment maintenance. Also, each system existed on a different server with its own software and workstation, which made training building and maintenance staff difficult.
The hospital took steps to cut energy costs and improve its infrastructure at the turn of the century. And this move created an opportunity to explore new levels of operating efficiencies through integration. With a multitude of systems and equipment across its three campuses, LHSC chose to build upon its decades-old relationship with Honeywell.
In 2003, Honeywell began installing energy-efficient building systems and making equipment upgrades. These projects were completed under an energy performance contract that allowed LHSC to finance the improvements and new technology through the energy savings produced by the upgrades. Honeywell guaranteed the savings so the improvements did not impact operating budgets or require additional taxpayer dollars.
Central to this work was the installation of Honeywell Enterprise Buildings Integrator (EBI), an integrated controls platform that acts as the brain of the hospital by providing operators with a campus-wide view of all systems and equipment. EBI ties HVAC, security, life safety systems and critical point monitoring together, and enables operators to view, access and manage any system in real-time from any workstation, increasing efficiency, reducing operating costs and improving business continuity.
With this integration, the hospital began piecing the standalone areas and operations together. Doing so streamlined processes to create safer and more secure facilities, as well as more productive environments for staff.
LHSC took a phased approach to moving to EBI, starting with the integration of the hospital’s security operations. In 2004, the hospital upgraded its access control system at University Hospital, replacing the legacy card system on campus, which was nearing capacity and had limited scalability. The hospital chose to standardise on Honeywell technology with new cards and readers to control access to the hospital’s entrances and exits. Given the hospital’s planned growth, the new system made sense.
As a critical part of a risk mitigation strategy, LHSC also installed Honeywell Asset Locator and digital video manager (DVM) — asset protection and closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems that are components of EBI.
Using a common platform gives facility personnel the ability to view real-time video in the event of a security alarm. For example, the system monitors the hospital’s amphitheatre, which houses expensive video equipment. The equipment is outfitted with radio frequency identification (RFID) security tags and if someone moves any piece outside the amphitheatre, the system initiatives an alarm and security personnel automatically see live video. This provides an immediate view of the situation and helps LHSC respond appropriately.
Because it runs on the IT infrastructure, DVM also enables LHSC to easily deploy cameras wherever it chooses. Instead of having to plan for how to run video cable back to a central analogue recorder, the hospital can easily add cameras at any location on its three campuses. This flexibility offers time and cost efficiencies while improving safety, since the hospital can quickly add cameras where necessary.
The success of the upgrade at University Hospital prompted LHSC to expand the architecture to the other two campuses. DVM, for example, now includes more than 60 cameras throughout the hospitals. Overall, the EBI system has grown to encompass 12 000 control points across the three campuses.
As the system grows, LHSC maintains secure grasp over all activity thanks to its centralised security and building operations centre. Facility personnel are able to monitor operations through EBI’s single-window access to the multiple systems and databases that make up the security and building operations. The centre boasts both bird’s eye and individual system viewing capabilities, allowing personnel to quickly isolate any problems, and respond quickly and accurately.
Today, LHSC relies on the EBI architecture to optimise its building operations, benefiting everyone from the youngest patients to IT staff.
For example, the hospital now uses an infant protection system to prevent unauthorised removal of babies from designated areas. The system uses electronic infant tags to track newborns, keeping personnel informed of their location in real-time. If a baby travels beyond the designated maternity floor or 'zone', the electronic tag triggers the security system to lock doors and elevators, initiates video surveillance, and automatically dispatches security personnel to the area.
Integration also is enhancing safety at LHSC’s power plant and select remote areas, such as the diagnostic imaging and mental health wards. Employees in these areas use locator technology that doubles as a distress or 'man down' system, which adds another layer of safety for employees who often work alone or in higher-risk areas.
These workers carry RFID-enabled badges that they can trigger by touch in the event of a safety or security concern. The badges transmit signals that are detected by wireless readers and routed to LHSC’s central security centre — where an operator can see who sent the distress signal and where the individual is located, along with video, floor plans and any other supporting data.
Throughout the development and growth of its facilities and building systems, LHSC keeps Honeywell closely involved in all planning. Primary to this planning is an EBI roadmap jointly developed to leverage the integrated system’s scalability. Together, LHSC and Honeywell constantly update and revise the roadmap based on the hospital’s changing needs and overall expansion.
© Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd | All Rights Reserved