Nationally recognized Providence St. Vincent Medical Center has outgrown its existing paging system, which was more
than two decades old, pieced together from disparate equipment and unable to meet the facility's expansion and life-safety
interface requirements for the future. The medical center also needs a new system that's on par with the standard of
healthcare it's known for.
Oregon Electric Group, Inc., dba Integrated Systems Group (ISG)-one of the largest electrical contracting companies
in the Northwest-develops a three-phase plan to install a new critical paging system. Offering improved sound quality
and intelligibility, system monitoring, ease of maintenance, and options for life safety interface and expanded paging
capabilities, the new system now meets the medical center's needs today and in the future.
Many know Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Oregon, because of its nationally recognized specialty
programs. It is the only Oregon hospital to make the list of Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals, and it has made this
prestigious list ten times. Others are familiar with its maternity services-given that about 1 in 8 babies in Oregon are born at
the medical center each year, more than any other medical facility in the state. And still others know Providence St. Vincent
Medical Center because of its wildly popular viral video "Pink Glove Dance for Breast Cancer Awareness," which has been
viewed more than 12 million times since its release a year ago.
In 2010, this renowned Northwest facility recognized that it needed a paging system that was on par with the standard
of care it was known for. Facility staff and stakeholders saw the need for a system that could deliver reliable, superior
intelligibility, so every critical page would be clear, understandable and go through every time. In addition, they wanted a
system that could accommodate the medical center's requirements for expansion and safety in the future. So Providence
St. Vincent Medical Center took action to replace its existing critical paging system and contracted Integrated Systems
Group (ISG)-one of the largest electrical contracting companies in the Northwest-to install the new system. Specializing
in commercial, healthcare, high tech, industrial and institutional markets, as well as in-house design, build and energy
conservation services, ISG came up with a plan to address the medical center's needs.
ISG Account Manager Erik McCarty and his colleagues conceptualized the installation of the new critical paging system
in three phases. In order to meet the current and future needs of the medical center, they selected Vocia® from Biamp®
Systems. Vocia provides a networked, critical paging and voice evacuation system that's flexible and scalable. Built on a
decentralized networked architecture, Vocia provides unsurpassed versatility, reliability and ease-of-use. The decentralized
aspect of the system was key for this installation-if a paging station were to encounter problems, the system would
continue functioning and automatically alert administrators of the issue. This means the system has no single point of
system failure and helps maintenance technicians find and address any potential issues.
As the team at ISG assessed the existing system in an effort to develop a replacement system, they found several issues
that needed to be addressed. "The most significant issue was the sound quality and the need for louder paging for
emergencies," says Jim Gainer, the medical center's Manager of TSS Instrumentation. Due to the inconsistent sound
quality and the fact that some pages were being randomly dropped, staff had lost confidence in the system's reliability-a
serious safety consideration given the critical nature of code pages.
The existing system also lacked system supervision capabilities, which meant that it was difficult to pinpoint and fix
glitches and failures. There was no comprehensive set of reference schematics that tracked the wiring and layout of the
paging system throughout the facility. Information was piecemeal at best, Gainer says.
Additionally, the team at ISG discovered dead-end wires that were not connected to anything, broken and cut wires that
had not been working, and wires that had been spliced inappropriately for use with other devices. This created a web of
cabling that would make it difficult to trace a failure. Since the existing system lacked line monitoring, it never generated
warnings about any of these issues.
Finally, the system as it existed would not be able to meet the medical center's future needs. The center needed a system
that would allow for the expansion of additional zone paging, paging from remote and multiple locations, logging of paging
activities and possibly a life safety interface.
The team at ISG has completed phase one of the project, and phase two is set to begin in early 2011. Already, the new
system has provided a reliable, supervised paging system with improved sound quality and intelligibility, options for
expanded paging capabilities and life safety interface, system monitoring and ease of maintenance. It uses Vocia's
distributed intelligence, a flexible network architecture and an intuitive software interface.
ISG eliminated many of the paging amplifiers that had previously been scattered throughout the facility and centralized
them into a single location. The new system, McCarty says, provides greater versatility, functionality and reliability. "Having
a quality digital paging system with supervision, reporting and alarm capabilities provides assurance to the staff at
Providence St. Vincent Medical Center that the system will be there for them when they most need it."
The new system, which includes 12 paging stations throughout the facility, provides monitoring of speaker runs, so during a
future expansion, it will be easy for any installer-even a new team of people-to pick up and continue where the first phase
left off. ISG also installed clean, secure wire runs-so the nests of dead-end, broken and cut wires in the old system are now
a thing of the past.
"The benefits of phase one are being experienced every day," Gainer says. Critical pages now have clearer, more consistent
levels and sound quality, and staff can confidently rely on the new system. "We know the subsequent phases of the
installation will provide even greater versatility and flexibility," he says. These features will be important during phase two,
when the system will be expanded to other areas of the medical campus. Because the system is expandable and provides a
user-friendly supervision system, Gainer says, "we will have complete oversight of the whole campus so we can proactively
address any issues that might arise."
Thanks to ISG, as the medical center expands the new system to include other areas of the campus, the staff gain peace
of mind that it will continue to meet their needs for a reliable and flexible critical paging system-as well as the life safety
standards of tomorrow. Since the Vocia system doubles as a voice evacuation system, the medical center has gained
efficiencies, and administrators now have this option at their fingertips. It is a truly future-proof system: as their needs
grow, they won't need to replace it.
Gainer says ISG's installation of the new critical paging system has equipped Providence St. Vincent Medical Center to
meet the community's expectation of excellence. "The new system delivers reliability, flexibility and system monitoring-
allowing us to successfully manage our environment of healing."
A smart, networked audio system that helps this medical center meet the community's expectations and stay ahead of the
safety curve-that's one inve