By Jillian Ruffino
Published in the August 2007 issue of Today’s Facility Manager
The on call rooms at Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA needed to be updated to maximize space. Hotel locks provided the inspiration for a renovation.
What is your position? How many years have you been in this profession?
I am the manager of Hospitality Services for Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. I have worked at the medical center for more than six years.
Please give a brief description of the facility involved in this project.
The space involved had previously been 100 overnight rooms with on call staff in and out constantly. These workers had access to the rooms at all times.
Why was the decision made to pursue this project for the facility?
We wanted to maximize our use of the facility’s space, so we could increase the number of available rooms for patients and provide our residents and others in need of on call rooms with a comfortable, safe environment and a user friendly access system.
In the end, we provided more on call beds every night while using less total space by converting to an access system similar to hotel rooms.
Please describe the decision making and research process for this project.
We brought together leaders from facilities, hospitality, housekeeping, public safety, and graduate medical education. In addition, we convened a representative group of residents (users of the on call rooms) to help design the rooms.
What led you to choose the specific solution that you did?
Primarily, my exposure to Onity’s electronic locking system during my years in the hotel industry led me back to Onity for this project.
What benefits have you reaped as a result of this project?
We have accomplished our goal of successfully maximizing space in the facility. We were able to provide the amount of on call room space that’s needed for a teaching hospital of this size while recapturing space in order to increase our clinical capacity.
What economic benefits have you reaped as a result of this project?
Before this installation, a specific department may have been assigned a certain number of on call rooms but actually used far less than their allocated space. Until we started tracking usage through the locking system we had no idea what was being used. This freed up more space for us to use, which has generated more revenue for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Did you encounter any unexpected highlights or challenges while implementing this project?
There were no unexpected challenges. However, because of what our Onity locking system provides, we enjoy a greater level of security than anticipated and our expectations were high.
Credit: Photo: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
How did this project require you to change your operations and maintenance practices?
The only change in our maintenance operations was getting used to a new key system. Door access for the on call rooms is very different than with our old locks. Now, we operate our on call rooms the way a hotel would operate. We provide room key based on time and length of stay.
What has been the reaction to the project from upper management and elsewhere in your organization?
Hospital leadership is quite pleased; Onity has provided exactly what we hoped for a safe and more efficient process for on call room users and the ability to maximize space.
What was the most professionally rewarding aspect of this project?
Putting together a plan and formulating the process was the most professionally rewarding part of this project. We were also able to watch as it evolved into an even more successful program than had been anticipated.
For more information about Onity electronic solutions, please contact Terri Pearson at (770) 582-8039, or send an e-mail to [email protected].