Hines Veterans Hospital Audio Visual Installation for Medical Simulation

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital offers primary, extended and specialty care for more than 57,000 U.S. military veterans in Cook, DuPage and Will counties on a 147-acre campus 12 miles west of downtown Chicago and six community-based outpatient clinics. The hospital also serves as the VISN 12 southern tier hub for pathology, radiology, radiation therapy, human resource management and fiscal services with specialized clinical programs for blind rehabilitation, spinal cord injury, neurosurgery, radiation therapy and cardiovascular surgery.

The VA renovated an old building on the hospital’s main campus to serve as a medical simulation center and supporting training facilities to provide healthcare professionals with real-world medical experience and opportunities to practice hands-on patient care techniques. The renovation presented a challenge due to the existing building’s antiquated infrastructure, restricted floorplan, and limited space to accommodate modern equipment with increased power needs.

The VA hired Level-1 to provide audio, streaming/stored video, and control center hardware and software to support the new simulation center’s viewing, lecturing, training, and debriefing rooms. Level-1’s solution started with an assessment of the building’s existing infrastructure and recommendations for the placement and installation of new technology infrastructure in the attic to preserve limited floor space. Level-1 worked closely with its mechanical, electrical, and plumbing experts to ensure that the new center’s increased needs for power were met in each simulation and viewing room while also limiting any negative effects on the rest of the hospital campus. To protect the rest of the hospital’s network against slowdown from the heavy bandwidth required to support streaming video and playback, Level-1 equipped the medical simulation areas with their own network infrastructure to support high-speed connectivity. The new center also includes two control rooms and a server room to store cabinets and equipment for the newly installed network.  Level-1 purchased and installed multiple ceiling-mounted cameras and displays, overhead microphones/speakers, wall-mounted touchscreens and access panels and developed a rigorous testing schedule. 

Level-1 outfitted each simulation room with fixed and standard-definition pan/tilt/zoom (SD PTZ) ceiling-mounted cameras, a wall-mounted, direct-view display, an overhead ‘Voice of God’ speaker, a tabletop microphone and a ceiling-mounted microphone. A viewing room was equipped with two direct-view, wall-mounted displays capable of displaying real-time, streaming video from the simulation rooms. Debriefing rooms incorporated SD PTZ ceiling-mounted cameras, a direct-view, wall-mounted display, an overhead speaker, a tabletop microphone, a wall-mounted touchscreen AV control panel and an AV wall plate. Lecture/Task Training rooms included PTZ ceiling-mounted cameras, a direct-view, wall-mounted display, an overhead speaker, a tabletop microphone, a wall mounted touchscreen AV control panel and an AV wall plate.

Level-1 also equipped the control/server rooms with two AV simulation center control workstations and multi-camera viewing displays. Each workstation was configured to control the video and audio equipment, recording and routing control of simulation center AV equipment, allowing camera selection and control of PTZ with views of up to four camera feeds at a time. An AV touchscreen control panel allows video and audio routing of Sim Center suite cameras, microphones, video inputs and audio inputs. A simulation capture PC station controls the capture of video and audio as well as playback of recorded video, simulator screens and medical device monitors.

All real-time monitoring and debriefing are handled via a cross-platform, web-based architecture that allows video access via LAN or WAN network connection. A SimBridge server supports SimBridge management software to enhance center accessibility by tying together each SimCapture, allowing data to propagate and synchronize between devices. A ClinicalSkills server provides functionality for building cases and checklists from a drag-and-drop collaborative case library and is used to schedule events, configure exam rooms and generate reports.