A Medical Enhancement
- By Brad Kamcheff
- September 15, 2022
Located in Marin County in
Northern California, Marin-
Health Medical Center is a 327-
bed, independent medical facility
serving the North Bay community. Since
its opening in 1952, MarinHealth Medical
Center has seen many changes, including a
steady increase in its surrounding population.
New mandates require hospitals to
implement various regulations and seismic
safety precautions by 2030. This ultimately
led to the construction of a state-of-the-art
hospital for the North Bay region, and in
the fall of 2020, MarinHealth announced
the official opening of Oak Pavilion.
Oak Pavilion is a 260,000 square foot,
four-story cutting-edge facility focused
on patient-centric care with sustainable
building design and enhanced safety and
security. The pavilion promotes best practices
through private and single patient
rooms, complete with separate hallways
and elevators for staff and visitors. The
new design reduces traffic in public areas,
protects patient privacy and minimizes
potential virus transmissions.
As MarinHealth Medical Center embarked
on its $535 million expansion, an important
aspect of the project involved designing
strategic paths of communication between
staff and visitors for the overall improvement
of workflow and building security.
Expansive in size, the new facility included
an intensive care unit, an emergency
department triple the size of the
previous one, three operating rooms, a
maternity care unit with private rooms,
and an expanded neonatal intensive care
unit. Each of these areas required a system
that allows doctors, nurses, and other staff
to travel freely between patient areas and
waiting areas, while also providing visitors
with a simple and secure way to communicate
with the staff in each department.
There was also a need for rescue assistance
towers outside the hospital. These
towers provide additional levels of security,
and ways for requesting medical assistance.
There are customized call stations in
more than 30 anterooms. Anterooms are
containment barriers, separating patient
rooms from visitor walkways, designed to
minimize contamination and increase patient
As nurses would be required to request
access to anterooms before requesting access
to patient rooms, single-button call
stations could not be used in these areas.
Rather, the hospital needed flush mount
intercoms with multiple call buttons.
When choosing an intercom system
for Oak Pavilion, MarinHealth Medical
Center required a comprehensive system
that could meet the communication needs
associated with all locations. They needed
intercoms to integrate with the access
control system, their CISCO SIP phone
system, as well as provide video for enhanced
security and visitor identification.
The system needed to be multifaceted and
scalable, not only in the quantity of networked
devices, but also in the paths and
destinations of communication.
AND CUSTOM SOLUTION
Nick Tournis, IT operations consultant
at MarinHealth Medical Center, worked
with Aiphone to identify the best solution
for meeting the hospital’s needs. The intercom
series that was chosen, encompassed
all the different communication needs, as
well as provide flexibility for expansion.
“We ended up choosing Aiphone’s IX
Series. It was the best option to meet our
needs,” Tournis said. “It’s future-focused,
networked and features an IP-based system,
all of which are ideal for a state-ofthe-
art medical facility.”
Aiphone’s IX Series door stations are
generally equipped with one button. To
meet the needs of Oak Pavilion however,
a unique and customized station was created
for the anterooms, adding three extra
buttons to each door station. Two buttons
were designed for calling the patient room
and nurse station. The remaining two buttons
were designed to be customized by
the staff, to communicate with priority areas
such as the main desk, reception area
or any other relevant room in the facility.
Intercom stations were installed in
medical and surgical rooms, waiting
rooms, Intensive Care Units (ICU), and
Newborn Intensive Care Units (NICU).
Many of the call stations in these areas are
equipped with card readers that are wired
back to the hospital’s access control system,
allowing authorized staff to use their
badges to get inside at these locations. The
intercom stations in these areas also provide
video, allowing for additional monitoring
in cases of suspicious activity.
According to Tournis, the system
solves a number of pain points for the
hospital, especially in regards to improving
visitor and patient experience. When
a visitor or patient arrives and pushes an
intercom button, a call is made to a primary
station, or front desk/lobby area.
In cases where the primary station is not
answered, Oak Pavilion is also using a roll
over feature. This allows the primary call
to be transferred to a designated secondary
master station, where authorized staff
at that location can determine how the call
should be addressed.
Using the Aiphone IX series, Oak Pavilion
was able to solve their communications
needs with one intercom system.
The system will address their perimeter
access communication needs, provide the
standard communication needed in ICUs
and NICUs, and it addressed the potential
need to make emergency duress calls both
inside and outside the facility.
This article originally appeared in the September / October 2022 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.