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Ref: Kentucky hospital partners with tech company to create situational awareness software


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Hospital links disaster efforts

Software boosts control of response
By Justin Hesser
The Courier-Journal

By Justin Hesser
The Courier-Journal

With a couple of mouse clicks, Stephan French could disable the airflow system at Jewish Hospital Medical Center South in Bullitt County to prevent toxic air from entering.

While French, who was participating in a disaster demonstration yesterday, didn't actually disable the system, he could do so within seconds during a real emergency from the downtown Louisville campus of Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare.

The vice president of facilities development was showing off a software system that allows the company to quickly access critical information and perform tasks during a disaster.

"It puts us in a position to manage these events on the cutting edge," French said.

FacilityOne, a Louisville-based company, has been working with Jewish Hospital for about six years to develop the facility-management program.

Yesterday, Jewish held a demonstration at its downtown campus to show how the software would work during a disaster. An incident command team of five people spent about two hours responding to scenarios that have happened.

First, a tornado hit Pioneer Village in Bullitt County, then a train derailment caused a fire and chemical spill.

Throughout the drill, the software allowed French to access timely information his team could use in responding to the disaster, such as preparing for victims or deciding if the hospital had to be evacuated.

Before the software was developed, facility managers were "held hostage" by technology because managers could not integrate programs, said Dale Cain, chief executive officer of FacilityOne.

His company's system allows three programs -- which do such things as show offsite roadways, map the hospitals' heat and electrical supply, and shut down parts of the facilities -- to work together.

"All three systems allow information to push and pull from one another," Cain said.

Outside experts evaluated how the hospital staff handled the situation.

Bringing together accurate and timely data the way the FacilityOne system did is the difference between a hazard and a immense disaster, said Grace Mastalli, one of the evaluators and former director of the Department of Homeland Security's information sharing and collaboration office.

Louisville residents "are fortunate to live in an area where people are planning and preparing to reduce the consequences of a natural disaster or accident," Mastalli said.

Copyright 2005 The Courier-Journal.

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