UVA Medical Center: Event Logging & Alerting

Success Stories

Event Logging and Alerting at University of Virginia Medical Center

The University of Virginia Medical Center chose Affinity Energy to implement a SCADA system that provides alerting and documentation of event details in their central energy plant.

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University of Virginia Medical Center

The University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, Virginia, is a Level One trauma center providing both inpatient and outpatient care. It opened in 1901. The facility has a total of 18 emergency generators. 40 ATS, and 15 facility operators.

Keeping track of event details used to be a big guessing game. Affinity Energy designed our SCADA system to automatically document and provide detailed reports on run-time. Instead of spending days writing a dissertation in the recording room, our compliance reports are just a few clicks away.

Alex Di Giacomo, Maintenance Supervisor at University of Virginia Medical Center

Challenge:

In the past few years, University of Virginia Medical Center has grown exponentially. Because of this growth, it was difficult for the medical center to keep track of and access event details in their central energy plant.

When generators tripped, the University’s general Systems Control group received an alert that a generator event occurred, but no additional information was provided. It was up to Systems Control to convey the alarm event to the shift’s top central energy plant operator.

Because the details of each event were unknown, every generator event had to be treated with the same level of emergency.

If facilities operators forgot to call up Systems Control to let them know they were testing the generators, Systems Control still called the top operator, which caused unnecessary confusion and sometimes panic about the state of the generators.

In addition, as a state-operated facility, the University of Virginia Medical Center is legally obligated by The Joint Commission to provide detailed reporting on generator activity including runtime, fuel usage, and CO2 emissions.

Because these records were not readily available, every six months the operator spent multiple days in the records room writing reports to meet these requirements.

Solution:

After assessing the challenges of University of Virginia Medical Center, Affinity Energy designed, built, and integrated a Wonderware SCADA system to provide easily-accessible alerting and documentation.

Instead of simply alerting on a problem, alerts specify what caused the issue, how many generators started, the voltage level, and other parameters in real-time. Affinity Energy designed the system with a printable event log reporting capability for easy Joint Commission compliance.

Rather than relying on the Systems Control group to relay information, the web-based system makes it easy for any operator (or other added parties within the hospital network) to know the status of any generator remotely and exact event timestamps.

To make the solution even easier to navigate, Affinity Energy engineers personally trained all operators on common scenarios that might occur in the environment.

Results:

Access to generator alerting now allows operators to respond and repair faster than ever before. Because maintenance personnel are alerted on exact locations and natures of problems before arriving, they don’t waste time locating the problem. Documentation provided by the system actually helps give more credence to preventative maintenance projects that would have previously been refused.

The medical center is now able to track events and record them with precision, rather than relying on educated guesses. Instead of double checking human-entered event logs, the machine-printed documentation enables easier, quicker, and more accurate Joint Commission compliance.

The University of Virginia Medical Center is so pleased with the system they plan to integrate the rest of their generators (totaling 18) within the next 12 months.

Every time a generator alarm occurred, it caused an organization-wide panic. There was zero visibility, which meant (as shift supervisor) I got dozens of calls every time the generator started. Now all our operators, maintenance personnel, and ‘concerned parties’ can see what’s going on remotely…and my blood pressure doesn’t skyrocket when I feel my phone buzz.

–Alex Di Giacomo, Maintenance Supervisor at University of Virginia Medical Center

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