Many hospitals, homes and clinics are caught in a dilemma: while demand for medical services is growing and the facilities for patient care and the technical infrastructure are steadily improving, on the financial front the institutions in question are subject to severe cost pressures. At the same time smooth and secure operation is regarded as being a matter of course â from a comfortable indoor environment, unlimited energy supplies and energy-optimized operation to comprehensive protection of lives, assets and processes.
Energy management is a financially critical aspect of hospital organization that is also of relevance for security. The ongoing running costs of a building depend to a considerable extent on the consumption of electricity, heat, water, waste water and other media. Monitoring and controlling are therefore important tools for building operators. They enable the potential for energy savings to be evaluated and energy consumption and operating costs to be reduced permanently over the long term by implementing appropriate economies. Siemens Building Technologies (SBT) offers an efficient, web-based solution for cost-effective, sustained energy management in which only the resources actually used are invoiced. With complementary energy services and its tried and tested expertise in the field of energy engineering, Siemens is a competent partner for putting economies into practice.
Savings finance modernization
SBT also offers Performance Contracting as a complementary service to Monitoring and Controlling. Here SBT acts as general contractor in implementing the necessary upgrades and optimizations. In this case the capital expenditure is paid for from savings in energy and operating costs during the life of the contract. Performance Contracting also enhances operating security, increases the value of the building's installations and makes a guaranteed contribution to environmental protection through energy savings and reduced emissions. Additional savings are shared between the contractual partners, while savings underachievement is charged to SBT. After the contract has expired, the customer benefits from all further savings.
Hospital operations managers also have to prepare conscientiously for possible hazardous events, malfunctions and breakdowns, and have suitable plans of action at hand. The primary concern is to protect patients, staff and visitors, while the limitation of property damage or the elimination of technical malfunctions is only secondary to this.
Different security systems or services are employed, depending on the user's needs and the required concept. Integrated overall approaches (Total Building Solutions) that open up substantial savings potential for operators in energy and operating costs and simplify the operation and monitoring of building and security systems in an overall interconnected network are increasingly in demand. Alongside this, the higher expectations of hospital operators are driving a trend toward expanded services. High productivity and reliability of the security and building services systems throughout their life cycle are being called for.
Radio technology is opening up prospects for new applications
Security or building services applications using wireless signal transmission (WLAN, RFID, GSM) have increased rapidly in recent years. Radio frequency identification (RFID) offers potential for new applications. In this process, transponders or tags automatically transmit information if a reader unit requests a response. In contrast to bar code readers, RFID readers require no visual contact with the label; data exchange takes place via radio waves. Compared with bar codes, RFID can store more information and offers crucial advantages in logistics, for example, since it enables products to be located faster, clearly identified and moved more quickly. RFID is suitable for use in hospitals to label drugs or items of equipment. Analytical instruments or beds can thus be located quickly. RFID can also be used for human beings, for example with disoriented patients or babies (misidentification, abduction). In Germany and the US Siemens is testing an RFID bracelet to be worn by hospital patients. The chip contains their personal particulars, but no hospital records, X-ray pictures, laboratory results or invoices. These confidential data remain stored on the relevant computers. However, the RFID bracelet facilitates access, therapists can identify patients quickly and securely and obtain the relevant data on a laptop or a reader unit.
Dealing competently with energy efficiency and security issues has a major impact on a hospital's image, staff satisfaction, the well-being of patients and finally the hospital's economic efficiency. In addition to security and building management solutions, Siemens offers comprehensive solutions for power generation and distribution, telephony, communication networks and IT infrastructure, as well as visual display diagnosis and therapy systems. Composite solutions of this kind are ideal for use in hospitals, where technological expertise from a single source generates greater security and economic efficiency.
Building Technologies, an operating group of Siemens, combines offerings for security and life safety and building automation within one company as a service provider and systems integrator and as a manufacturer of respective products. By virtue of the unique combination of these business sectors, the company occupies a leading position worldwide. The Siemens group is part of Siemens Switzerland Ltd, Zurich (Switzerland) and consists further of Siemens Building Technologies GmbH & Co oHG, Erlangen (Germany), Siemens Building Technologies Inc., Buffalo Grove, IL (USA), their subsidiaries and affiliates and all significant Siemens activities in the field of building technologies. The company totaled sales of 4.4 billion euros in the 2005 fiscal year (September 30) and currently employs a workforce of 28,000 in 51 countries. www.siemens.com/buildingtechnologies