Essentia Healthcare Wireless Clock Case Study

Custom dial Miller-Dwan Building

Essentia Healthcare Finds Life "a lot easier" with Wireless Synchronized Time

The Essentia Healthcare campus in Duluth, MN employs 6,500 people in a total of 2 million square feet. It’s not surprising that the 5 main buildings are connected with skyways to protect patients and staff from the harsh Minnesota winters and the lake-effect snow that blows in from Lake Superior.

The Miller-Dwan building was the ideal initial candidate for a SiteSync® wireless clock system in 2007 due to the age of its Simplex wired clock system. The biggest drive for a new system was the OR Director pushing to potentially recoup thousands of dollars lost in billing inaccuracy.

If a patient record shows leaving one area at 11:30 am and arriving at 11:28 am in another area, the insurance company refuses to pay either case because the patient can’t be two places at the same time.

A synchronized clock system solved that situation in a hurry. Miller-Dwan installed 35 clocks in the Operating Rooms and another 85 clocks throughout the building. “The guys in maintenance were practically doing back flips knowing they would have accurate clocks. They used to manually advance the clocks through the old Simplex master clock and then walk the entire building to double check for accuracy. Now, after the Daylight Saving Time change, we come in the next day and we can count on the fact that the clocks don’t skip a beat. Before the upgrade, we spent at least $10,000 on clock maintenance, labor and repair every year. Without even including the billing accuracy piece, our wireless clock system easily paid for itself within the first two years”, said Maintenance Manager, Terry Anding.

The Director of Maintenance expects every clock to be accurate to 20 seconds of each other, so all the buildings providing patient care need synchronized time from clock to clock and building to building. American Time beat expectations and ensured the clocks were accurate within 1 second of each other. The powerful wireless time signal covers the Polinsky building next door to Miller-Dwan, so Anding and the Manager of Rehab work together to use one clock system for both buildings.

“Once the word gets out about our accurate clocks, everyone needs synchronized time. The Polinsky building next door provides Physical Therapy and Operational Therapy so accurate time is extremely important to them, too. Since our signal works just fine over there, the Manager of Polinsky calls when she needs more clocks and I order them out of her operational budget. We do everything we possibly can to be fiscally responsible, accurate and efficient”, explains Anding.

In June 2010, the St. Mary’s Medical Center received a wireless clock system upgrade. They expect to save $15,000 on clock maintenance, labor and repair in the first full year. According to Anding, “the wireless clock system from American Time has made life a lot easier for us and our users because the clocks take care of themselves.”

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