San Francisco IT Members Work Around the Clock to Open the New Acute Trauma Center at Hospital

The new Acute Trauma Center at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFGH) opened on May 21, the culmination of years of planning and work.  Local 21 San Francisco IT Chapter Members are one group of Local 21 Members who contributed to the project, and have been an integral part of designing the new hospital in an era where medical services are increasingly dependent on technology.

“IT was there when the architects drew the first plan,” says Jan Allison, a 24-year veteran of the hospital. Allison began her time at the hospital as a nurse, moving over to IT 16 years ago. Her combination of clinical and technical expertise made her a natural fit to be a Project Manager for the rebuild. The goal for IT, she says, was to put in place IT systems that would not only create a new space capable of supporting cutting edge technologies, but to lay the infrastructure for adoption of evolving technologies in the future.

Victor Rosero, a ZSFG Network Operations Supervisor who has been with the Department of Public Health for 21 years, says that all hands were on deck for opening weekend, during which time IT had a command center on the top floor of the building to coordinate rapid responses to any technical problems that arose. Both he and Jan are understandably proud of the role Local 21 IT Members are playing in the new hospital. 

Jan and Victor emphasize that IT Engineers working in this environment have tremendous responsibility because lives depend on their systems and equipment. To that end, IT has implemented many new technologies that improve patient care and safety.

For instance, IT has built in failsafe measures to protect patients in the event of system glitches or failures. Victor explains that the new hospital now has both redundancy and diversity in its IT structure, meaning that equipment in all rooms of the new hospital will continue running even if there are problems because they can now automatically switch over to multiple other connections that will prevent interruptions to patient care.

There is now also almost complete wireless coverage in the hospital, which allows for a number of great improvements to patients’ welfare and security. For example, a patient with a telemetry monitor who used to be confined to a bed can get up and walk to a visiting area to be with family because her equipment is now portable and capable of transmitting monitoring information wirelessly. And because information is now going directly from devices to electronic records, clinical staff has the ability to employ predictive analysis programs, where algorithms are used to analyze data in order to predict medical issues before they become critical. “It’s like having a guardian at your bedside” says Victor. 

The wireless system also supports a Real Time Location Services system, so that the hospital can prevent a patient with compromised consciousness from wandering out of the hospital, or a newborn baby from being taken out of the nursery. “We have taken and adapted new tech to solve real world problems, like baby napping,” says Jan.

While we were having this conversation in the lobby, a patient who was recently out of surgery interrupted to tell us that her surgery was handled so smoothly and professionally that is was by far her best experience in a hospital to date. She was absolutely impressed with the caliber of the new facility, and how it translates to quality patient care. We couldn’t agree more! Local 21 salutes our IT Chapter Members for their hard work on this project.