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converged Ethernet-based networks that optimize effi ciency. Typically de- signed and installed using high-perfor- mance optical fi ber and copper-based cabling, the IP-converged infrastructure provides the foundation for all com- munications, tying together CIS ap- plications and systems and providing the bandwidth, signal performance and scalability required. In many facilities, the IP-enabled network also supports non-clinical applications and systems, such as building automation systems, in-room patient information and enter- tainment services and interactive voice communications systems. Whether installed in a new hospital construc- tion or as part of the modernization of an existing facility, a standards-based, IP-enabled communications network can deliver many benefi ts. For example, such a network: • Allows for faster, more open fl ow of information and integration to enhance patient care;

• Facilitates deployment of new clini- cal and non-clinical systems across multiple sites within the network;

• Enables greater mobility for health- care providers, administrative and non-clinical staff, and allows for remote monitoring of systems, equipment and patients; and

• Enhances patient care, while low- ering the facility’s overall cost of operations.

Some early adopter healthcare facilities have realized up to a 20 per- cent savings in time and labor costs, simply by im- plementing an IP-converged network. Clearly, convergence is here to stay and it is integral to the new TIA-1179 stan- dard guiding network infrastructure design for healthcare facilities.

The new healthcare standard: What’s different? Recognizing that existing TIA-568- -C commercial building standards for network cabling infrastructures were no longer adequate for healthcare facili- ties, the Telecommunications Industry

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At the same new facility, the IP-converged network supports a multitude of both clinical and non-clinical systems and applications. Some hospitals have realized up to a 20 percent savings in time and labor since installing an integrated IP-based network infrastructure.

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Association (TIA) responded in August 2010 by ratifying the ANSI/TIA-1179 Healthcare Facility Telecommunica- tions Infrastructure Standard. The new standard specifi es require- ments above and beyond the scope of general commercial building guidelines. Why did the TIA deem this necessary? Primarily because the healthcare net- work cabling infrastructure must now support a wide range of mission-critical clinical systems requir- ing greater bandwidth and reliable performance to ensure that healthcare providers can continue

to provide responsive, time-sensitive patient care. New CIS applications con- tinue to emerge and evolve. Forecasts estimate that the global digital x-ray systems market will reach USD $4.8 billion by 2016, making an even more compelling case for healthcare facili- ties to implement a robust and reliable network infrastructure.

Many of the TIA-1179 standards are identical to those that apply to commercial buildings. For cabling system design, for example, the new

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standard specifi es the same hierarchical star topology and backbone and hori- zontal cable lengths. For transmission performance, test requirements and administration, the new standard also refers back to commercial standard specifi cations.

The standard’s new guidelines re- late specifi cally to healthcare facilities because of their unique physical layout and mission-critical requirements. Among the issues addressed are: room size and cabling/connectivity density in equipment rooms and telecommu- nications rooms to allow for growth, work area location and work area outlet density, physical transmission media specifications, environmental considerations, network security and segregation of certain network areas to ensure adequate support of life and safety protocols.

TIA-1179 responds to healthcare network challenges While the TIA-1179 standard is changing how healthcare facility net- work infrastructures are designed and deployed, it also addresses the overall

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