Archive for the ‘bedhead services’ Category

Healthcare – Integrated communication services

Friday, March 19th, 2010

The use of data cable and infrastructures within healthcare premises to carry information to and from the bedhead opens up the possibility of using the data cable for other facilities.Where data cables (for example Cat 5e, fibre-optic) are used to carry communication and control information to and from the bedhead, or other nursing position, in support of IP (Internet protocol)-based nurse call, patient/nurse speech, telephony, Internet and entertainment services etc, these should be capable of fully supporting the required computer network technologies as directed by the healthcare facility’s IT manager. Examples of computer network technologies include 10Base-T, 100Base-T, 1000Base-T (Gigabit) Ethernet, and Token Ring.

Utilising a common data highway may, however, impact upon business and clinical risk. Therefore, careful consideration should be given to the extent to which provisions are incorporated into the system to ensure adequate reliability and resilience of the various services so as to minimise such risks.

Data cables used for bedhead services will normally be independent of the main healthcare facility’s primary IT network (unless otherwise directed by the healthcare facility’s IT manager), but they will interface with the network at appropriate strategic points.

Relevant protocols and test procedures to achieve the required functional transparency and resilience should be agreed between the bedhead services’ equipment supplier(s) and healthcare facility’s IT manager before the interface(s) is/are installed.

Entertainment (radio and TV) and communication (telephony and Internet access) services may be provided through a low-energy digital device at each bedhead. Such devices should not be used as the primary control for any patient and staff calls, but should be capable of being used for patient health education and for menu-ordering in addition to other services as described in the list at the bottom of this page. When required, the device should also be capable of being interfaced with the hospital information systems and IT network for use by hospital staff and to reduce installation and maintenance costs.

Prior to installation, all facilities that utilise common data infrastructure systems should be adequately assessed with regard to their potential effect on other hospital systems, particularly in respect of any capacity, security and safety implications. Suitable provisions should be incorporated to ensure that such systems operate safely and reliably, with no unwanted interference being incurred sufficient to cause operational difficulties between systems.

Appropriate input and output interfaces should be provided as necessary to ensure a fully operational system in compliance with manufacturers’ requirements and with functionality as specified elsewhere in the project specification.

Once installed, the capacity of a data cable is potentially considerable, so expansion of facilities in the ward or nursing area becomes possible with the appropriate input and output interfaces.

Some features that may be developed are:

  • Bed status: to indicate whether the bed is occupied, vacant, in the course of preparation or out of commission.
  • Patient monitoring: to allow the output signals from medical apparatus to be multiplexed onto the data line. This may take the form of a simple on/off medical alarm or a constant reporting of varying analogue signals to indicate a changing medical condition.
  • Menu selection: to enable the patient to view and select their choice of meal.
  • Patient details: to enable the entry of a patient’s name, address and all relevant personal information at the bedside.
  • Medication requirements: to display all medical details to the nurse or doctor at the bedhead.
  • Patient entertainment: Internet etc.
  • Communication: Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony.
  • Patient administration systems: to provide full clinical access to the healthcare facility’s clinical data IT network at the bedside.
  • Door access and security: to allow the nurse-call system to be integrated with CCTV and door-access systems.
  • Clinical report displays: to enable laboratory results, X-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans to be displayed to clinical staff at the bedside.
  • Administration of drugs: to facilitate the accurate discharging and recording of drugs administered at the bedside.