Hospital invests in automation and benefits go far beyond financial savings

The Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre is one of the most important hospitals in south of Brasil. It is a public institution that serves about 60 different medical specialties. With an area of 182 thousand square meters, Clinicas – as it is known by Porto Alegre residents – also has chemotherapy units, radiotherapy, hemodialysis, outpatient clinics, outpatient clinics, pharmacy, among other places for assistance.

Academically linked to the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), HCPA is a hub for knowledge and innovation production and dissemination, being recognized in the international scientific scene. Currently, the institution has more than six thousand employees, 352 teachers and 560 resident doctors. One of its main commitments is the maintenance of international quality and safety standards and also seeking greater efficiency, productivity and comfort in hospital facilities. To reach these objectives Clínicas has automated its facilities, from boiler and electrical optimization to temperature control in blood products and medicines stocks.

As the Hospital de Clínicas is a public institution, the company responsible for implementing the system was chosen through a bidding process, and this is how the partnership between NOVUS and the Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre began.

With this project it was possible not only to save energy and improve the performance of the hospital’s processes, but to monitor the equipment and records of different quantities in a safe and reliable way.

With the new implemented solution, it is possible to carry out remote and real-time control of the entire electrical part of the Hospital de Clínicas, such as generators, transformers, circuit breakers and intelligent relays. It is also possible to monitor the boilers and the temperature of the water used in hotels, laundry, bathrooms and other facilities – the FieldLogger data acquisition module helps to find flaws in this structure, preventing further damage. In addition, a system was installed to record the volume in the reservoirs and water tanks and to control the pumps through PLCs, which will ensure balance and a longer useful life of this equipment. Another sector that was automated was the laundry, where the washers efficiency was optimized, taking into account the humidity of the washed parts, to finish the process and not just time.

However, it is with regard to the cold chain that the benefits of automation at Hospital de Clínicas are most important. Controlling and monitoring the temperature of freezers and refrigerators that store medicines, blood products, organs and skins, as well as laboratories, is essential and guarantees compliance with the rules of the health inspection bodies.

Data loggers can ensure that the temperature during storage does not harm the stock, and temperature indicators and controllers, such as N1500, N1200 and N322, can be used for precise control and already reporting their measured values to the supervisory, via serial communication.

Systems that allow proper registration and monitoring, such as FieldLogger, and supervision with ELIPSE supervision software – used in this application – have alarms, essential in a process where any change can irreversibly affect sensitive material. The acquisition of data through the FieldLogger also assists in the control of stock and, consequently, in the reduction of expenses. The system installed at the Hospital de Clínicas has already been able to detect failures caused by a lack of energy or a refrigerator failure and the quick access to information through the supervisory software allowed more than R $ 150,000 in medicines to be saved. On another occasion, material damage from five years of fur research was prevented.

Advances in technology go hand in hand with advances in the health area, and it is natural that more and more institutions such as Hospital de Clínicas are looking for solutions in automation. More than optimizing processes and generating savings in material resources, the use of technology in health serves to avoid failures that compromise the most precious asset we have, people’s lives.

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