Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Sisters of Mercy Health System in Oklahoma City to Use CAD for First Responders

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Sisters of Mercy Health System in Oklahoma City to Use CAD for First Responders

Article excerpt

In 2008, the unthinkable happened at Mercy urgent care center in St. Louis, Mo.: A lab technician was taken hostage and fatally shot by an ex-boyfriend.

Since then, leadership at the Sisters of Mercy Health System has begun implementing what they didn't have then - detailed, computerized drawings of each facility, and access to their closed- circuit cameras, so first responders can better plan their approach, whether it's a hostage situation or a natural disaster.

Mercy is applying computer-aided design, or CAD, to provide detailed maps of each health care facility in the system's four- state area. Mercy facilities in Oklahoma, including its biggest hospital in Oklahoma City, are working toward the changes with plans to roll them out in less than a year.

Chris Crawford, a CAD technician who was recently hired to coordinate the process in Oklahoma, said CAD technology traditionally hasn't been applied to health care settings, but it stands to make each facility safer.

"CAD gives you a picture - a layout of the facility that shows you the gas lines, sprinklers, cameras, exits," Crawford said. "It paints that picture for you. And the nice thing about CAD is that once it's up to date, we can make changes in real time."

The technology has already been launched at St. John's Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis, Mo., and it's 80 percent complete at another Mercy facility in Washington, Mo., said Simon Plowman, CAD manager for the Sisters of Mercy Health System.

Plowman said hospital staff, including its security team, met with local first responders to ensure that the technology fit their needs. Too much information would be overwhelming, he said, and its coding needed to be familiar and easy to use in a crisis situation. They also did simulations and trainings so that everyone was comfortable with the technology, he said.

The technology is accessible online and only with a password given to hospital security and first responders, Plowman said. Because it is Web-based, Mercy can update it quickly when a hospital undergoes construction. …

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