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Solving the Communications Challenges of Today’s Clinics

A generation ago, a visit to your family doctor was a much different experience. Your doctor likely had a private office and a small staff, and anything beyond a basic checkup usually involved a hospital visit.

Today’s medical facilities are far busier and infinitely more complex. The average general practitioner shares offices and staff with several other doctors and specialists, typically within a complex of several buildings housing outpatient clinics and other facilities. It’s a fast paced environment, with each day seeing dozens of staffers and hundreds of patients pass through the halls and examination rooms. It’s a setting that makes even routine communication a challenge, in a practice where timely and correct information can literally be critical.

As the medical industry has grown to become increasingly complex and multi-faceted, so has the challenge of creating new communications solutions. The ability of staff to stay in touch with doctors, maintain the status of multiple patients, and monitor emergency calls is critical to keep things running smoothly, and potentially to the welfare of patients.

Tech Works has been at the forefront of healthcare communications for more than 30-years, creating powerful yet simple systems to enable doctors and staff to keep their operations running smoothly and efficiently. Tech Works’ NC-Series Nurse Call Systems are among the most advanced communications tools available to meet the needs of medical offices and clinical facilities.

NC-Series is a tone- and light-based system that enables doctors, staff, and patients to summon staff, call for emergency nursing help, or cancel a nurse call from inside any room. In many outpatient facilities, staff can not maintain visual contact with each room at all times, and NC-Series provides the solution. Systems contractor Integrated Electronics of Fresno, California, implemented a Tech Works Nurse call communications system in Rio Bravo Medical Center’s Cancer & Imaging Center in Bakersfield, California.

“We installed NC-Series Patient Stations and Staff Emergency Stations at each of nine beds in the Center’s new Ambulatory Surgical Center,” explains Integrated Electronics engineer Jacob Irion. “This allows the patients to call into a Nurse’s Master Station/annunciator [electrical signaling system] at the Nurse Station area. As a precautionary backup, all calls are sent to a Nurse’s Master Station/annunciator located in the staff break room. The restrooms are outfitted with pull cords adjacent to each toilet, which also activate the light outside of the room and contact both annunciators.”

Designed from the ground up to provide the ultimate in reliability and performance, Tech Works NC-Series Nurse call systems seamlessly integrate with existing communications systems to enable any new or existing facility to integrate the features and benefits of digital communications technology, without the need for expensive rewiring and configuration. Installation is simple and cost-effective, utilizing existing wiring to replace older systems, or economical CAT5 cable for new installations. The system is modular and expandable, running on low-voltage circuitry that is economical and virtually maintenance free.

St. Joseph Hospital Exterior Building

St. Joseph Hospital, Orange County, California

“One of the great things about NC-Series is that they are easy to install whether you use existing copper wire or CAT5,” observes RA Cline Systems principal Bob Cline, whose company specified a system for St. Joseph’s Hospital in Orange County, California that combines Tech Works’ NC-Series Nurse Call systems with their acclaimed CC-Series Clinic Room Status. “In fact, many times I supply a package of Tech Works gear and a design drawing, and with minimal information from me, an electrician can install it. I just have to go out and certify that everything is installed and operating properly.

Due to the potential risk involved with surgery and other relatively routine procedures, operating rooms and minor procedure rooms must be outfitted with Staff Emergency Stations to allow staff to call for backup. Should there be a patient emergency, NC-Series Nurse call Systems can be equipped with Code Blue buttons to alert staff that a high-priority event has occurred, requiring immediate backup from outside their department.

Intertek ETL Listed LogoNC-Series also meets even the strictest installation code requirements, exceeding UL 1069 certification, as well as California’s recently-adopted OSHPD standards. And Nurse call systems can be easily configured as a single station system without the need for a control module, making it the most economical system available. And all systems can be custom-configured and expanded, up to a fully integrated 256-station system with computer oversight.

Using the Tech Works Digital Network Communication, NC-Series systems can easily be bridged to computers and other IP systems, opening a near limitless communications scenario. By adding tools like Tech Works Integrated Messaging and Reporting system, users can view the status on their desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone. Integrating other technologies such as digital signage and wireless paging, Nurse call system activity can be constantly updated for users both locally and remotely.

Irion also points to Tech Works’ support as invaluable in designing and installing healthcare communications solutions. “Tech Works staff is very knowledgeable and courteous, and always available to answer our questions and assist with design.”

Bob Cline agrees: “Tech Works support is second to none,” he asserts. “Their systems are affordable, reliable, and easy to use — which translates to a happy client.”

Learn More about Tech Works Clinical Workflow / Room Status Solutions