Watson Clinic: Enhancing the Patient Experience
What the Judges Said…
“Having clear objectives for the system resulted in optimizing comfort and energy management. This had significant benefits beyond the initial project scope. Hopefully the system gets rolled out to medical facilities worldwide.”
Watson Clinic is a local network of general and specialized medical facilities in Central Florida that has been serving patients since 1941. The clinic, which was one of the first clinics to receive accreditation from the American Association of Medical Centers, has a team of experts across a range of specialties that serve physical, emotional, and behavioral care needs. In 2001, Watson Clinic committed to upgrading its building management systems on a regular basis for patient safety and satisfaction.
Over the past 16 years, Watson Clinic has worked with Future Controls, Inc., a Florida-based HVAC specialist. Most recently, the organization upgraded its legacy building management system, TAC I/NET, to Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Building Operation solution. The integrated EcoStruxure solution facilitates the exchange and analysis of data from energy, lighting, fire safety, and HVAC systems across facilities in one seamless environment so that Watson Clinic can reduce its energy and operational costs by 30%, Schneider Electric says.
Future Controls worked closely with Watson Clinic to maintain a regular program of building automation upgrades and improvements for more than a dozen buildings. As new buildings were added to the network or major renovations occurred, the organizations partnered to upgrade building controls and software. In addition, Future Controls performs smaller upgrades based on a yearlong plan developed in partnership with Watson Clinic.
With the help of Future Controls and Schneider Electric’s technology, Watson Clinic installed thermostats with a full setting range in areas where doctors operate. Individual medical staffers can adjust the room temperature themselves since the clinic aims to provide the comforts of home in the work environment. In the operating room, the air changes constantly and must be monitored minute-by-minute to ensure it is within an acceptable range. Air pressure and temperature changes are also critical because they could affect a patient’s likelihood of infection.
Unlike large buildings where the temperature gets determined regardless of patient or staff needs, Watson Clinic provides a customized environment for each doctor. The EcoStruxure solution eliminates the need to monitor temperature manually, instead notifying nurses and doctors about any equipment issues through a green or yellow light so they can call maintenance right away.
Before the transition to the EcoStruxure solution, the facility management staff received nearly 50 phone calls per day with complaints that facilities were either too hot or too cold. Following the installation of the updated BMS and merging the alarms into a work-order system, the staff receives just two or three emails a week. They also can often proactively address issues before they affect the environment of care. In addition, the company’s electric bill has gone down $150,000 per year in its main building, which is expected to be maintained for the next 10 years.