Black Box designs and installs an IP-based unified communications platform for Dearborn County Hospital

Pittsburgh 15 January 2008The Dearborn County Hospital deployment of an advanced IP-based HiPath unified communications platform from Siemens Communications Inc., which was designed and installed by Black Box Network Services, a United States communications integrator and authorized Siemens HiPath reseller, has been successfully completed. This platform will offer efficient and effective communications among doctors, staff, patients and patient families.


Located in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, Dearborn County Hospital has a workforce of approximately 800 employees, and more than 115 physicians are on staff. As part of a major capital expansion that would add a new patient tower to the facility, Dearborn County Hospital decided to explore an upgrade to its wireline, TDM-based PBX communications system.

"We recognized that many communications advances had occurred over the past few years, and we wanted to see how they might help us advance the quality and efficiency of our patient care", stated Albert Mathews, Assistant Director of Information Systems, Dearborn County Hospital in southeast Indiana. "We wanted to expand our traditional communications environment, enabling the use of IP telephony while preserving the existing wiring infrastructure to save costs and also wanted to use IP communications to integrate the hospital's physician offices and outpatient facility into a virtual hospital-wide system", he stated.

After talking with a number of vendors, the hospital issued a request for proposal (RFP) to expand its traditional communications environment with a hybrid TDM/IP PBX solution. The goal was to unify communications as well as centralize system management for easier administration and lower telecommunications expenses overall.

"Together with Siemens, we listened to Dearborn County Hospital's needs and realized it had a tremendous opportunity - not only to unify its wireline communications but also to enhance its emergency notification capabilities along with the addition of a new wireless infrastructure", stated Steve Anderson, Vice President of Operations and Sales, Black Box Network Services. "Siemens and Black Box truly worked as a seamless team", stated Albert Mathews. "They helped us understand that unified communications truly means open communications, and they broadened the original scope of work to enhance our capabilities while introducing the benefits of increased mobility, efficiency, collaboration and responsiveness to our patients."

Although five other vendors bid on the RFP, Dearborn County Hospital chose the Siemens HiPath solution, including:

  • Siemens HiPath 4000 system with support for over 700 digital stations, 600 analogue stations, 60 IP station channels, and Primary Rate Interface trunks, as well as HiPath Xpressions system, enabling unified messaging for users.
  • Siemens HiPath Wireless portfolio, a wireless LAN solution for fixed mobile convenience including wireless handsets, campus controllers and wireless access points with external antennas. The solution is hosted from the hospital's Data Centre, serving the entire facility and potentially serving remote locations.
  • Impact Technologies' DAKS Alerting and Messaging Solution, a mission-critical application that will enhance emergency notification by broadcasting information to hospital staff for improved responsiveness.

Steve Anderson noted that Siemens provided exceptional support from start to finish, from helping with the bid to product demonstration and consultation on wireless LAN implementation. "Siemens was always there for us", Steve Anderson stated. "If we needed an assist, small or large, we could call for support and receive Siemens' expert advice throughout the installation process."

Albert Mathews is most satisfied with the hospital's new unified communications system and the fixed-mobile convenience it brings doctors, staff, patients and their families. "We've only scratched the surface when it comes to the possibilities of our new communications infrastructure", Albert Mathews stated. "For example, the HiPath Wireless solution lets physicians who use electronic medical records access those files onsite. It also allows patients and visitors to communicate with loved ones, access educational and entertainment resources, and keep up with work activities - all of the things they would normally do in the course of a day on their computer at home or work."

"This is an excellent example of how a mid-sized, independent hospital can cost-effectively improve its ability to communicate, operate and ultimately provide better patient care by using Siemens HiPath open communications architecture", stated Jeffrey Forbes, Vice President, Healthcare Solutions, Siemens Communications Inc. "Not only has the solution set helped unify hospital communications, but it has also allowed the integration of their emergency notification and messaging systems. With a more integrated infrastructure, they can now unlock the potential for greater collaboration, productivity and efficiency, all of which can come together to improve patient care."

Black Box is a technical services company dedicated to designing, building and maintaining today's complicated data and voice infrastructure systems. Black Box services 175.000 clients in 141 countries with 187 offices throughout the world.

Siemens AG is one of the largest global electronics and engineering companies with reported worldwide sales of $96 billion in fiscal 2005. Founded nearly 160 years ago, the company is an expert in the areas Medical, Power, Automation and Control, Transportation, Information and Communications, Lighting, Building Technologies, Water Technologies and Services and Home Appliances. With its United States corporate headquarters in New York City, Siemens in the USA has sales of $18,8 billion and employs approximately 70.000 people throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Eleven of Siemens' worldwide businesses are based in the United States. With its global headquarters in Munich, Siemens AG and its subsidiaries employ 460.000 people in 190 countries.

Siemens Communications Inc. is an affiliate of Siemens Enterprise Communications GmbH & Co. KG, one of the world's major vendors of Open Communications solutions for enterprises of all sizes, enabling business processes to be more productive, faster and more secure - with any device, network or information technology infrastructure. Siemens Communications Inc., and Siemens Enterprise Communications GmbH & Co. KG are wholly owned subsidiaries of Siemens AG with about 15.000 employees globally and headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida. More company news can be found in the VMW October 2007 article University of North Carolina nanotech spin-off forms new venture with Siemens.

Leslie Versweyveld

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