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Reaching United Visual
tailors a/v system to unique medical needs
Conference room at
Our Lady of the Resurrection, Chicago, a perfect fit
you buy a business suit that didn't fit? Perhaps the sleeves are too
long or the pants too short. What kind impression will you make in
a suit like that? A conference room is a lot like that business suit.
If you get just the right fit it can be everything you hoped for and
more. Fitting one to a hospital user, however, can be quite a bit
different than fitting to a typical business or school.
That's the reason Larry Latas, Director of Facility Services at Our Lady
of Resurrection Hospital in Chicago, came to United Visual. Tailoring
this project to Resurrection's needs was the job of Jim Mergens, who has
over 19 years experience working with hospitals and universities, including
16 as media director at Alexian Brothers Hospital in Elk Grove. "Before
we got started, I pointed out some of the things that are unique to health
care presenters," says Mergens. "For instance, doctors-orthopedic surgeons
especially-do a lot of before and after comparisons, so a dual slide projection
setup can be very valuable. The brightness of the data projector can be
a big issue, because of the types of MRIs and other scans that doctors
bring in for presentation to their colleagues. And the clarity and sharpness
of the projector are paramount to the success of such a discussion." For
this reason, Mergens recommended a high brightness Sharp LCD projector.
was equally important that the controls be easy to use and understand.
"There are two types of people using this room," says Mergens, "daytime
and night time users. Daytime users are doctors, nurses, administrators
and other medical staff members whose daily use of the conference room
would give them a sophisticated knowledge of how it works. But for night
time users, like Lamaze teachers, stop smoking and weight loss clinics
that might only use the room once or twice a month, the controls need
to be self explanatory."
A major renovation
Our Lady of the Resurrection is part of the Resurrection Health Care
system, which includes over 60 hospitals and clinics and is one of the
leading Catholic health care systems in the Chicago area. According
to Latas, the most recent improvements are part of a major renovation
that has seen expansion of the radiology building and outpatient center
and major renovation of the emergency room facilities. The hospital
gutted its entire seventh floor and then redesigned it to include the
conference room, a medical library, a kitchen for catering meetings
and a series of small offices. All are designed to tie into the hospital's
service-oriented mission, which includes keeping up with the growth
and changes in the community the hospital serves. The entire staff now
finds it easier to address patient needs in meetings and in training,
in a room that is flexible as those who use it.
The conference room is used for a number of functions, including meetings
of the Resurrection Hospital System board, staff and management training,
physician meetings, and public orientations, clinics and seminars. With
such a wide range of meetings taking place there, setup had to be very
flexible, and the room is easily transformed for whatever meeting, whether
it be for a board meeting or a classroom setup. Facilities Services
staff can simply reset furniture or open or close a movable airwall
to create one or two conference rooms. The smaller of these two rooms
has its own projection screen and lighting controls, and the sound system
automatically turns off the speakers in this section when the airwall
"Acoustics weren't good in this room before," points out Administrative
Assistant Gloria Castaneda. "It was very hard to hear when we held meetings."
That's all changed with the new sound system. A number of other improvements
also serve to improve communication. Decor has gone from a very traditional,
heavy and dark flavor, to one much more contemporary and light. Lighting
is warm and bright and enhanced by four enormous picture windows set
into the outside wall to afford an impressive view of the city below.
Mergens made several suggestions to fit the special needs of the hospital.
The room includes a podium that can be raised or lowered depending on
the height of the presenter-thus providing easy access for handicapped
users. Presenters, including busy doctors, can control all of the a/v
equipment plus lighting and draperies from a built-in touchscreen located
right at the podium. There's even a drawer in the side of the podium
that opens to reveal a document camera-another item frequently used
to project medical charts and documentation. A lift mounted in the ceiling
raises or lowers the LCD projector upon command from either the podium
or a handheld touchpad that looks much like a game controller. To simplify
operations, Mergens had these remote controls preprogrammed to carry
out a series of commands in a sequence. The lights will dim, the drapes
close, the projector lower and turn on all with the touch of a single
Latas says that, while uses of the room were thoroughly discussed in
pre-construction meetings, he's happy that Mergens added a little extra
for the future by including a few electrical floor boxes that are not
currently needed. "They put them in places they felt might be helpful
with future uses and expansion."
Sit up and take notice
"This has become a very user-friendly room," says Castaneda, whose job
in Educational Services at the hospital includes management of all of
the facilities on the seventh floor, making reservations for use of
the rooms, and training people in how to use the equipment before their
event. "As media services people we
were always moving a/v equipment around, from floor to floor. I can't
tell you how wonderful it is to have it all in one place and interactive.
A simple touch of the button makes everything happen."
That's the sort of efficiency that people sit up and notice, according
to Latas, who says everyone who has used the room so far seems very
impressed with the state-of-the-art equipment. "The quality of the sound
and picture is excellent," he says. "It has made a world of difference
in the quality of the presentations." That's something that is equally
important to doctor and patient alike. The laptop interface is the most
widely used feature of the room, because doctors and other presenters
can perfect their presentations in their offices, then simply plug into
the conference room technology and show their completed work.
The whole effect is now one of modern efficiency and comfort. Latas
calls it a "high-end corporate type look" and couldn't be happier with
the final fit. "Working with Jim Mergens has been great. He's been there
for us all the way and United Visual has been available for support
whenever we needed them."
This is definitely a conference room designed for today's needs and
tomorrow's challenges. Every room on the 7th floor is intended to interact
and support the others. Food from the kitchen, reference materials from
the library and the cutting edge technology in the conference room all
work together to make even the longest meetings seem comfortably efficient.
This conference room is a perfect fit. It's just what the doctors ordered.