Living Healthier Together: 
Partnering to Advance Patient Care at Anne Arundel Medical Center

Over a Century of Caring

At the end of the 19th century, the growth of Annapolis as an educational and government center spurred the need for better healthcare. A group of enlightened townswomen decided Annapolis needed a hospital, and in 1902, The Annapolis Emergency Hospital opened in a small cottage at Franklin and Cathedral streets. In 1900, Annapolis represented the lion’s share of the population in Anne Arundel County, but by 1990, the explosive growth of the surrounding areas meant that less than 8% of the county’s population resided there. Over a century later, The Annapolis Emergency Hospital evolved into Anne Arundel Health System, a regional medical center serving more than 600,000 area residents.

In keeping with the population shift, Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) consolidated its acute care services to a new health care facility at its Medical Park campus less than 10 miles away. AAMC opened a new seven-story patient tower in 2011, featuring an expanded emergency room, a dedicated pediatric emergency room and pediatric in-patient unit, 50 private patient rooms, eight operating rooms and a 1,600-space parking garage.

The nursecall communication system designed to keep the new tower and the entire AAMC campus informed, engaged and connected? Jeron’s Provider® 680-Plus. The solution provider? Symtech Solutions.

Making the Call

Provider 680 was already in use at the existing buildings on the sprawling 60-acre campus. Automated Code Blue throughout the campus was a critical consideration. According to Richard Constantineau, AAMC’s Manager of Bio-Med Engineering, “We wanted to keep the Code Blue system we have here. It works extremely well. We like Provider 680 because it can be run two ways – where a staff member monitors the nursecall system at all times or the way we have it programmed now, to run automatically with SpectraLink phones.”

Glenn McGinn, President of Symtech Systems, provided a few details. “When the Code Blue button is pressed, the Symtech-supplied server and the Jeron software automatically responds. There’s a 40” flat panel display in the PBX room that gives the operators a visual indication of what the code is, where it’s coming from and how long it’s been placed while the automatic system activates the wireless phones and pocket paging and sends text and email messages. It’s a real nice feature.”

Training and staff adoption were also important issues for the team at AAMC. “We needed a system that wasn’t overly cumbersome for the staff or the patients to learn and use. We’re very comfortable with Provider 680 and we wanted the same system in both buildings, throughout the hospital. The nursecall system and its features are the same in every department.”

Floor by Floor

As for the install, Glenn explained: “The scale of the project was huge, but the expansion and integration of the Provider system went very smoothly. There was a lot of advance planning that allowed us to work hand in hand with the hospital. The cabling and the installation kept pace with the construction.”

Other improvements were made along the way – renovation of AAMC’s public address system with a full digital sound rack and enhanced coverage and features of the voice paging system.

The original construction plan called for a six-floor tower, with the third and sixth floors to be used as shells for future expansion. Like all plans, they changed. “There’s a constant stream of activity; things are changing every day. Practically every week there’s something that’s being changed or expanded. We’re on the phone on almost a daily basis.”

Working Together

“We made changes throughout the process”, Constantineau offered, “and the installation team was able to keep up with all of them. In fact, there were times when we did emergency construction on a floor because we needed six more rooms and Symtech was able to get the nursecall system up and running within the timeframe that we needed… and some of them were really quick.

“Nothing delayed the construction in any manner. Symtech works with us as a partner – and we’re happy with the relationship.”

Future Plans

Population growth in the county accelerated plans to compete the sixth floor and when the State of Maryland approves a mandated Certificate of Need, the third floor build-out will commence. That will likely happen in 2012 or early 2013.

Down the road, the Jeron system will be linked with Versus asset tracking. “Caregivers will be issued badges and when a call is placed through the nursecall system, the Versus sensor will automatically cancel the call when the staff member enters the room, change the light in the hallway indicating there’s a nurse or CNA in the room and keep a log of the activity,” said McGinn. “When they’re ready to go, it’ll be an easy thing to introduce.”

As for the team at AAMC, Provider 680+ is meeting all the challenges of a top-rated hospital. According to Constantineau, “We’re using the system to its full potential and we’re getting everything out of it that we possibly can.”