Best of the Best: System Upgrade Secures Post-Acute Patients

The demand for post-acute health care continues to increase at a high rate as baby boomers age. Fortunately, for 75 years, Palm Health Partners (PHP) has provided long-term care for post-acute patients. Some of the services the health-care provider supplies include assisted living, rehabilitation, skilled nursing, memory impairment and other specialty medical services.

However, prominent regulatory market influences now require all hospitals to improve the management of post-acute care. Additionally, because hospital budgets have dropped considerably, there is very little room for error and lack of efficiency.

With such an important task, administrators at PHP aimed to deliver a cost-effective, comprehensive level of rehabilitative care through technological innovation. To do this, PHP asked Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI) to design and deploy an intelligent network of state-of-the-art systems to automate the health-care operations at PHP’s NuVista Care Communities and central office in Wellington, Fla. The job landed JCI a runner-up position for SSI’s 2012 Integrated Installation of the Year.

“By leveraging technology, we wanted to improve the ability to exchange information,” PHP COO Kevin Bell says. “This allows for more informed decision making between the hospital, physicians and post-acute care providers. In the process, we wanted to make this transition safer for patients and more efficient for caregivers.”

Assessing the Client’s Needs

The NuVista Care Communities consist of two campuses: the Lutz Center, a 120-bed post-acute care facility, and Wellington Green, which includes a 120-bed skilled nursing facility and a 52-apartment assisted-living facility. In 2013, PHP will unveil a third community — The Institute for the Aging, Life Science and Research — which will house a 99-bed skilled nursing facility, a 70-bed assisted living facility and a 30-bed neurological research center.

To help assess PHP’s security and technological needs, JCI used its technology contracting model to design a single IP backbone for all administrative, clinical and building information systems. As a result, JCI installed a solution comprised of some 15 integrated systems, including IP video, security and building management, fire alarm, nurse call, telephony and pharmacy services.

The technology map consists of JCI’s Metasys building management system, P2000 security management system, DVN 5000 digital video recording and IFC2 3030 and 640 fire alarm systems. To allow an information exchange across all care settings for caregivers, physicians, acute-care providers and strategic partners, the integrator converged systems on a single network. “The ability to push and pull patient specific information electronically from pre-admission to discharge is critical to our commitment to connecting care delivery across the health care continuum,” PHP CEO Paul Walczak says.

Integrated Systems Protect Patients

The electronic security contractor integrated the P2000 security system and video surveillance cameras, helping PHP staff to monitor restricted zones throughout the buildings. Moreover, the JCI team installed a real-time location system, permitting constant tracking and identification of patients, staff and medical equipment to ensure that people and property are in the proper designated areas. Interactive TV services also allow patients to view care plans or the schedule for the week daily.<p>The solution incorporates some 15 integrated systems, including IP video, nurse call and pharmacy services.</p>

In a hospital environment, it is crucial that the correct medications are given to the appropriate patient at the right time. Thus, JCI integrated an electronic pharmacy services solution with administrative systems. As a result, a patient’s medication information is automatically sent to the pharmacy upon admission and the dispensary is filled. This helps reduce the potential for human error. Because the system is integrated with the P2000 solution, only authorized personnel with the proper credentials can access the dispensary.

In addition to reducing infrastructure costs associated with multiple networks, the newly installed enterprise-level solution provides increased flexibility for future upgrades and additions. The project is also groundbreaking for the post-acute sector, according to Walczak.

“By creating a technology-based environment that offers a level of quality and service that hasn’t been available in our market, we’re advancing the atmosphere of care,” he says. “JCI understood our vision. They brought the right partners to the table to develop a platform that is both efficient and effective.”

Ashley Willis is Associate Editor for SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. She can be reached at (310) 533-2419.

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