To better accommodate the quickly growing city of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Memorial Health System has built its newest hospital campus: Memorial Hospital North. In providing the hospital the most advanced audio technology available, Beacon Communications LLC of Denver, Colorado also developed a paging system that helps hospital operators better serve patients while maintaining a relaxing, comfortable atmosphere in every area. To create this paging system, Beacon Communications installed a Biamp AudiaFLEX CM (CobraNet Module) for signal EQ, distribution and network capabilities.
"In Memorial Hospital North we've installed Rauland-Borg's Nurse Call system – one of the most flexible systems available," said Michael Hester, Managing Partner, Beacon Communications. "It allows the hospital operators to quickly and easily ring a station or call a particular nurse. But we also wanted to supplement this system with a powerful audio processor to ensure that each page is heard clearly and at even volume levels that wouldn't disturb patients or disrupt important procedures. We worked very closely with the consultants on this project, Technology Plus, Inc., and have developed a system that we feel sets a new standard for paging."
The system is comprised primarily of Biamp components, including a single AudiaFLEX CM with four TI-2 telephone interface cards, two IP-2 mic/line input cards and six OP-2e mic/line output cards. This single chassis drives six Biamp CPA650 amplifiers and 12 DT-4 transformers for 25-volt operation – the standard for Memorial Hospital's audio system. This distribution system sends signals to the Lowell LT805-72BB cone-type, 4W speakers in most areas."
Hester continued by saying, "Typically, paging systems of this nature are an afterthought and not given the care they deserve. If that is the case, you very often have hot spots directly under every speaker, and dead spots where the speaker range drops off. Pages come in very loud and shrill and can really detract from an environment, especially in a hospital where you have patients who need to rest. The compressor limiter feature in the Biamp AudiaFLEX makes it ideal for a paging system because it means that every page is extremely clear and distributed at the same volume level. It doesn't sound harsh or screechy. Rather it sounds very natural and un-clipped."
The system was installed with four telephone lines to accommodate the four separate zones that represent each floor of the hospital. As Hester explains, "As is often the case, and as is the case with the Memorial Health system, the primary device used to initiate the page is a telephone. When the person making the page is finished, the page is followed by a very loud sound of a phone hanging up. It's annoying and it's horribly disrupting to patients and staff.
"From a programming standpoint, the AudiaFLEX allowed us to program a lot of unique features very easily, most notably an "Auto Hang-Up" block that automatically closes the line if there is a period of inactivity lasting longer than five seconds."
"The Audia® software also allowed us to create very powerful and intuitive presets for paging that make the operators' jobs very easy. For instance, we've programmed a special page specifically for Code Blue emergencies. Code Blue pages – sent when a patient goes into cardiac arrest – are the most critical in any hospital and means time is of the essence. At Memorial Hospital North, if a Code Blue call comes into the switchboard, the operator first calls back to confirm the call and then has to push a single button to override all audio in all zones and issue the Code Blue page. In other instances, the operator can send a single page to the O.R. or to the Emergency Room, and those pages will take priority in those zones only."
As this rapidly growing facility continues to expand, three additional zones serving the Operating Suites, Emergency Department and Radiology will join the four zones that currently accommodate each floor of the hospital. The large number of outputs offered by the Biamp AudiaFLEX CM, and the network-friendly architecture of the AudiaFLEX, will make it easy for Beacon Communications to expand as needed.
"This complex system is managed by only a single AudiaFLEX." concluded Hester. "It is able to address all of our current needs, as well as our needs down the road."