Safety is at the forefront of hospitals across the nation. According to a landmark report To Err is Human (2000) by The Institute of Medicine (IOM), between 44,000 and 98,000 patients die a year in the U.S. due to preventable medical errors including wrongful administration of medication. Beyond the cost of human life, these errors cost the healthcare industry as much as $29 million per year. This figure takes into account the expenses associated with additional care, loss of income and disability so as to reduce medication administration errors, hospitals are modifying their current medical dispensing systems in operation to prevent and eliminate these errors.

Based in Portsmouth, Ohio, Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) is one such hospital that is addressing this concern. A 222-bed hospital that provides emergency and surgical care, as well as a wide range of other health-care services, SOMC employs 2,200 full and part-time doctors and volunteers. SOMC has a medical staff of more than 140 board-certified or board-eligible physicians and specialists and is supported by more than 800 volunteers.

WALLaroo 2000 wall station The WALLaroo 2000 wall station featured a cabinet mounted outside each patient’s room to temporarily stock the non-narcotic medications prior to dispensing

One of the “Best Practices” outlined in the IOM report calls for the healthcare industry to utilise technology, such as bed side bar coding, to improve patient identification. To meet these standards, SOMC quickly modernised their process from relying heavily on a two-cart dispensing system that included laptops on wheels (LOW’s) and pharmacy carts, to a system that was more efficient and accurate. The new solution, the WALLaroo 2000 wall station, featured a cabinet mounted outside each patient’s room to temporarily stock the non-narcotic medications prior to dispensing.

SOMC’s IT department was tasked with finding a way to integrate the wall stations with a state-of-the-art access control system that was equipped with an access-controlled lock and reader. By implementing this solution, SOMC has been able to strictly adhere to their patient’s rights as they pertain to medication dispensing, which includes: the right patient, the right medication, the right dose, the right time and the right route of administration.

Centrally networked access control system

When we started our quest for an access-control solution, we looked for two things,” said Dennis Ward, information services and applications manager for SOMC. “First SOMC needed a solution that would be centrally networked with the current eMAR system, as well as have a main power source. Additionally, we needed to replace the magnetic strip on employee badges with a more effective technology.

Ward consulted with several companies within the security industry, including Accu-Tech, SecuriCo, Microman and HID Global, before finding the optimal solution- SecuriCo’s Securus Web software solution. The solution operates with a HID EdgeReader coupled with iCLASS 2K (37-bit) smart cards and Rutherford Controls 3513 Lock.

SecurusWeb software solution

SOMC project requirements indicated that both a Web-based software solution and an IP PoE Access Control solution were required"

SOMC project requirements indicated that both a Web-based software solution and an IP PoE Access Control solution were required,” said Jim Andrews, president of SecuriCo, Inc. “After Dennis and I reviewed the project requirements and discussed the design options with AccuTech and Microman, everyone agreed that the SecurusWeb software solution with a pre-configured HID EdgeReader and iCLASS 2K (37-bit) smart cards were the perfect fit for the hospital’s unique access control needs.

According to Ward, “As I conducted product research in the security information space, I noted that most available solutions were based on HID technology. This was important since the hospital was growing, and our security needs would grow, too. HID Global has a great industry reputation so it was a natural and easy decision to select the company’s solutions and OEM partner, SecuriCo, Inc.

Installing WALLaroo wall stations and HID EdgeReader

Since Ward had never implemented a project like this before, he obtained samples of one of the WALLaroo wall stations, a HID EdgeReader and evaluation software from SecuriCo. Using the samples, he created a prototype that would fit all his access control needs and serve SOMC in the best possible way.

Installed by Microman, these pre-programmed wall units have the SOMC specifications that Ward devised. While physical access control is delivered through the HID EdgeReader and iCLASS cards, the control of the hardware is provided through SecuriCo’s Securus Web software. The software controls which individuals are granted access to each station based upon a preset access level, which includes the day and time access is allowed. In addition, the application also records how access is added and removed.

This innovative solution also enables pharmacy technicians to deliver barcoded, 24-hour scheduled, non-narcotic medications to the secured wall mounted stations. Using their authorised HID iCLASS cards, the nursing staff is then able to access and administer the medication.

SecurusWeb and HID Global’s Edge IP access solutions SecurusWeb and HID Global’s Edge IP access solutions can make it easier to meet the unique and demanding needs of healthcare applications, as experienced by SOMC

Thinking outside the box and using innovative products like SecurusWeb and HID Global’s Edge IP access solutions can make it easier to meet the unique and demanding needs of healthcare applications, as experienced by SOMC. Accuracy for patient medication dispensing has improved significantly thanks to the new solution.

Workflow is also more efficient because the amount of time it previously took nurses to go to the medication room and retrieve new medications has been significantly reduced. Additionally, medication is secure and located where the staff expects it to be, while eliminating the need for medication carts, making the hospital hallways accessible and less cluttered.

With the original installation of 73 of HID’s EdgeReaders being such a great success, SOMC ordered and installed an additional102 EdgeReaders in the hospital’s new North Tower, including 12 on the first floor Heart Care Unit (HCU), 30 on the second floor in the Surgical-Vascular Care Unit (SVCU), 30 on the third floor in the Medical-Surgical Care Unit (MSCU), and 30 more that are located on the fourth floor in the Progressive Care Unit (PCU).

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How Internet of Things (IoT) aids facility management and physical security
How Internet of Things (IoT) aids facility management and physical security

As buildings become more complex and smarter, the age-old traditional maintenance methods that are based mostly on hands-on human monitoring are becoming more and more inadequate. Instead, the world is fast adopting building automation as a key component of smarter and more proactive maintenance strategies. The aim is to free up maintenance staff and give them time to focus on other tasks while machines monitor the different systems that work together to make the facility functional. Specifically, Internet of Things - or, IoT - enablement appears set to transform the way facility managers deliver service to building occupants. The trends are many and the possibilities are almost mind-boggling, from inventory management, to work scheduling and energy efficiency, the list goes on and on. Below, we look at a few ways in which IoT is being used for Facility Management and Security. Revolutionise maintenance through condition-based maintenance For years now, the norm among maintenance professionals has been a time-based approach, or in simpler terms, performing maintenance operations after a set period of time. But a major flaw of this system is that components were being replaced periodically whether the parts were actually worn out or not. Of course, that meant some of these maintenance activities simply weren’t cost-effective. To avoid this waste from continuing, a subset of IoT known as IIoT can now be used to optimise the maintenance process. IIoT works as a centralised network of connected systems and devices that can talk to one another and generate and relay data Rather than changing parts on a time-based schedule, IIoT works as a centralised network of connected systems and devices that can talk to one another and generate and relay data. 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On page 52 of this guide by the US Department of Energy, they state that a functional predictive maintenance program could yield up to 10 times ROI, reduce maintenance costs by 25% to 30%, and reduce downtime by 35% to 45% Along with fire suppression, IIoT is effectively monitoring a wide range of systems such as lighting, HVAC and security Remote monitoring of facilities Physical inspections have been a critical condition for the success of conventional maintenance programs, even in hazardous environments. But, with the increasing emphasis on personnel safety, organisations want alternative solutions that allow staff to examine assets without being physically present. Facility managers and their team working in industries like manufacturing, oil and gas, and mining can relate with these constraints. And these industries can benefit greatly from deploying predictive maintenance solutions. For example, in the oil and gas industry, IIoT sensors can be used to monitor remote and highly critical assets. These sensors can be used on pipelines to detect anomalies (especially corrosion) and pass that information to supervisors for necessary action. By doing this, potential failures are quickly predicted to avoid often disastrous incidents. Managing energy consumption Sensors are also being embedded in building components and devices like HVAC systems, lights, doors, windows to understand energy consumption and proactively manage it. Facilities that use this technology could achieve substantial energy savings. In a press release by IT research and advisory company, Gartner, they stated that IoT can help reduce the cost of energy - as well as spatial management and building maintenance - by up to 30%. Looking at HVAC systems very closely, we see that they are a major source of energy usage in any building These sensors work by monitoring different conditions in the building and causing a power-saving action based on the data received. For instance, occupancy sensors can order lights to turn on when it senses motion in a room and then turn off the same lights when there is no presence there. That way, there is no need to wait for someone to remember to switch off the lights when they are not needed.   Another very common use is in HVAC monitoring. Looking at HVAC systems very closely, we see that they are a major source of energy usage in any building. So, the issue is how can one use IIoT to manage HVAC and possibly reduce their energy usage? Well, in its most common form, IoT-enabled HVAC works as a connection of sensors and thermostats that monitor factors like indoor air quality, temperature, and environmental changes then communicate with the rest of the HVAC equipment and make needed adjustments for occupants’ comfort. Not only that. IoT-enabled HVAC works as a connection of sensors and thermostats that monitor factors like indoor air quality, temperature, and environmental changes The technology can be configured to: Track energy consumption at different distribution points throughout the building. Track usage from the power source right down to the consumption point. Detect sudden voltage drops or spikes (usually an indication of some fault). These are essential benefits because HVAC units are notorious for consuming large amounts of energy when they are working inefficiently. Security and access control Smart surveillance is another important area of application for IoT in facilities management. It takes several forms such as the monitoring of life-saving systems like intruder or fire alarms, invisible barriers, and other safety installations. Facility managers are using IoT across different industries to obtain live information about potential emergency situations with a view to responding before the issue escalates. In such cases, quick detection of any strange activity is key because many of these installations have tangible negative effects when they fail or when they are intentionally sabotaged.Smart surveillance is another important area of application for IoT in facilities management Fortunately, the surveillance equipment can also be setup to send alerts to mobile phones to aid emergency response or evacuation as the case may be. Smart surveillance is also priceless for monitoring the situation in partially or fully automated remote facilities (especially oil and gas installations and mines), and in hostile environments with critical equipment where humans cannot work for extended periods of time. If you are not yet using IoT in your facility, you may be wondering where to start from. To avoid getting overwhelmed, a good place to start would be to try a small-scale deployment of this technology then review its ROI and impact on your operations before adopting a more widespread IoT implementation. This way you can gradually scale up as you and your staff come to understand and adapt and to this new way of doing things.

Is the physical security industry doing enough to prevent school shootings?
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School shootings continue, as does a search for answers. What solutions are there to prevent school shootings and/or to improve the response (and thus minimise the death toll)?  In the physical security industry, we like to think we have solutions that can help, if not “solve”, the problem, but realistically speaking, how effective are they at the end of the day? We like to think we have solutions that can help, if not “solve”, the problem: but how effective are they at the end of the day? The sad answer – even after dozens of school shootings and even in the wrenching aftermath of the latest one – is that we don’t know. There is a gaping lack of knowledge and research when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of preventative measures as they relate to school shootings. Scarce resources on preventative measures The dearth of knowledge on the subject leaves schools at risk of spending scarce resources on measures that don’t have any real impact, or worse, that have a negative effect on education environments. The natural impulse following a school shooting is to do something – anything – to prevent the tragedy from happening again at any school, but especially at my school. But how is money best spent?Successful businesses are a good thing, but not at the expense of misspending education resources on solutions that don’t solve anything Congress has passed the Stop School Violence Act of 2018 to provide $50 million per year to develop programs to train students, teachers and law enforcement to prevent violence, and to create anonymous reporting systems, such as hot lines, for school violence threats. The bill authorises another $25 million for improvements to school’s physical security infrastructures. Congress also provides $1.1 billion in Title IV block grants, which districts can use to pay for diverse needs such as security systems. Several states are providing additional funding for physical safety measures and campus police, and local districts are also stretching their budgets to address security concerns. But is that money being targeted to measures that will help the situation? What is the role of technology in preventing school violence, and are we as an industry at risk of over-selling our preventative capabilities and diverting money from other measures that might have more impact? Successful businesses are a good thing, but not at the expense of misspending education resources on solutions that don’t solve anything. More metal detectors, armed guards and police officers could cause anxiety in some students and even interfere with the learning process Studies on school safety and protection Researchers, advocates and educators gathered this fall at American University to consider the need for better research to inform decision-making on safety, reported Education Week.The field is in desperate need of more evidence on what works, and schools want this information presented to them" A 2016 study by the Rand Corp. points to the problem: Lack of data and research on what works and what doesn’t. “Despite growth in the school safety-technology sector, rigorous research about the effectiveness of these technologies is virtually non-existent,” according to Rand. “The field is in desperate need of more evidence on what works, and schools want this information presented to them in vetted, digestible ways to help them with procurement.” Jeremy Finn, a professor of education at the University of Buffalo, has pointed out the difficulty of assessing the effectiveness of measures designed to deter events that likely won’t occur anyway. “How do you know when you have deterred a school shooting?” he asks. “It didn’t happen.” The effects on our students  Might technologies aimed at making schools more secure have an adverse effect on the learning environment? More metal detectors, armed guards and police officers could cause anxiety in some students and even interfere with the learning process. The physical security industry should freely acknowledge that the technologies we offer are only part of the solution to school violence Do security measures aimed at preventing active shooting incidents absorb resources that might better be used to address a more general and/or likely security threat such as vandalism or student discipline? Theoretically, security measures in general should help to prevent the probability of an active shooter at the same time they are addressing a wider range of concerns and threats. But do they? At the very least, we in the physical security market should be aware, and should freely acknowledge, that the technologies we offer are only part of the solution to school violence. Schools should take the broadest possible approach to the range of security challenges, and technology should be one tool among many. Furthermore, better data to measure what works is sorely needed to illuminate the best path forward.

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