Building management platform provides Texas hospital with a bird's eye view
February 1, 2007
As one of the nation’s leading pediatric orthopedic centers, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children provides ongoing care for thousands of Texas children each year. Naturally, the safety, security, and comfort of its patients and caregivers is a top priority for the not-for-profit hospital.
The hospital is located in Dallas and spans 865,000 sq ft over five buildings. Aging security and fire alarm systems made facility productivity a challenge. With plans underway to remodel and expand its space, the hospital sought to overhaul its building systems and create a more efficient and secure campus.
UPDATES NEEDEDThe challenges were formidable: Facility managers needed to update security systems, including access control, and prepare for a massive expansion into other areas of the hospital. In addition, they needed to upgrade the fire alarm system. All of the work had to occur with no loss of safety and security coverage for patients, staff, and visitors.
The hospital also used separate systems to control fire, security, and HVAC functions. Consequently, the hospital staff was unable to monitor and control all systems from a single, centralized location - leading to lowered productivity.
“The lack of control meant we had engineers changing temperature settings in various parts of the hospital,” said Joe Alexander, director of engineering and grounds for the hospital. “A central system offered a bird’s eye view to resolve issues quickly, and keep everything running smoothly.”
Based on a relationship that dates back to the early 1990s, the hospital chose Honeywell to tackle the facilities overhaul. Initial project work involved upgrading the fire and security systems, and tying them together through Honeywell Enterprise Buildings Integrator (EBI), a management platform that integrates core-building functions.
The hospital also awarded Honeywell a long-term service and maintenance agreement with two distinct parts. Under the agreement, Honeywell maintains and monitors EBI around-the-clock, and it provides the latest software enhancements and patches to keep systems protected and updated. The company also covers the quarterly testing and inspection of the hospital’s fire alarm system.
THE CARDS YOU'RE DEALT ...With EBI, facilities personnel can view systems in real time, react to issues quicker, and proactively solve problems. “Our original fire alarm system was mapped out in zones, so when an alarm came in, we sent the whole crew to try and locate the source,” Alexander said. “Rather than taking out an entire zone, we can now isolate that one device and leave the rest of the zone up and running, which saves a lot of time and effort.”
The card access system presented another challenge. Access cards were expensive to replace, and lost or “dead” cards were a frequent occurrence.
The solution: Honeywell is replacing the existing readers with ones that accept two different types of access cards, so employees can continue using old cards, and the hospital can introduce new, less expensive cards as needed - resulting in approximately $2,000 in annual savings.
Also, new cards are programmable to fit with an individual’s access to certain hospital areas. And employees can use the same card for multiple uses, including access control, time-clock functions, and identification purposes.
DATA TO DRIVE REGULATORY COMPLIANCEThe system upgrades also help the hospital meet industry-specific regulations, including security compliance measures under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which requires that hospitals implement physical safeguards to protect information.
And, when the hospital gets a visit from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), facility managers can use EBI to provide real-time, data-rich reports to inspectors. The hospital, like most medical facilities around the country, relies on JCAHO accreditation procedures for meeting quality standards.
“The big thing is the documentation - to show we’re actually doing what we say we’re doing,” Alexander said. “For example, we have one generator getting live data fed to the Honeywell system at different peak and load times, and the printouts help us provide information that meets the requirements and standards that apply to generator use.”
While Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children is already realizing cost savings and increased efficiencies, the hospital will see the greatest benefits as more systems are integrated into EBI. As part of a $25 million expansion of the facility, Honeywell will gradually replace what is left of the hospital’s existing control system, bringing it all onto the centralized platform.
“We’ll start to see savings on natural gas, electricity, even water,” Alexander said. “We’ll be able to better manage and control energy usage with real-time information, and it will help us make better decisions going forward.”