The Rochester Business Journal (RBJ) announced that RCare’s CEO, Myron Kowal, has been selected as a 2020 recipient of the Health Care Hero award. This annual award celebrates and recognizes excellence, promotes innovation, and honors the efforts of organizations and individuals making a significant impact on the quality of healthcare in the Rochester area.
RCare’s Kowal is being recognized as a COVID-19 Hero, a special category created this year to honor individuals and organizations making exceptional efforts to help fight the COVID-19 health crisis and address the unique health care needs caused by the pandemic.
Headquartered in Webster, NY, RCare manufactures wireless nurse call and emergency monitoring systems for long-term care and senior housing communities. During the early days of COVID infections, RCare saw an unmet challenge. As cases were surging and hospitals were reaching capacity, providers were forced to create makeshift triage areas, tents in parking lots as well as full-scale temporary hospitals. These temporary solutions were missing the high-quality, reliable nurse call systems that play an integral role in safe patient care.
RCare’s response was to create a portable, durable, wireless nurse call system, a simple solution that could be set up quickly and easily, particularly in non-traditional patient settings. This special nurse call system, called the RCare Rapid Deployment Kit (RDK), is a nurse call system in a box. It’s completely plug and play, so it can be installed in minutes, even in non-standard settings that may lack traditional infrastructure, while providing the reliability of a hospital-grade nurse call solution. The kit provides effective, reliable nurse call communications between patients and caregivers, or between equipment (such as ventilators) and caregivers, even in non-healthcare, field operation environments.
Through the initial wave of infections, the RDK was installed in field hospitals throughout the country. One example is UMass Memorial Hospital, which created a 216-bed “pop-up” hospital in the 50,000 square foot Exhibit Hall of the DCU Center in Worcester, MA, to handle their patient overflow.
The DCU Center is an indoor arena and convention center in downtown Worcester. In April, its Exhibition Hall was converted to a field hospital to help nearby UMass Memorial Hospital handle the overflow of COVID-19 patients, those sick enough to require hospitalization, but not ICU care or a ventilator. The center was repurposed to act as both a field hospital led by UMass, and a shelter for homeless people who were positive for COVID-19. The installation was quick, smooth, and successful.
The hospital was created in a 50,000 square foot exhibition hall with cube-type barriers separating patient spaces. Nothing about the setting was traditional. Nothing could be permanently mounted. The server was placed behind folding tables that nurses used for charting, on a box, with the paging encoder on top of it. Locators were hung on centrally-located poles with tie wraps. The server and paging encoder were plugged into a network switch with a patch cable. Pendants were given to the staff for distribution to patients as they were admitted.
Sean Grady, Unit Director for UMass Memorial said this about the installation: “The RCare rollout was probably the best of any vendor rollout involved with the DCU project. From project management to technical install, it could not have gone any more smoothly. I can tell you that the nurse call system has worked great for us at the field hospital we have set up in Worcester.”
The installation happened very quickly, despite the tight schedule and chaotic environment. The goal was to complete the entire hospital in just ten days. In fact, UMass smashed the goal and completed the project in only 8 days. Even as the nurse call system was being installed, the IT department was setting up computers and networking infrastructure, Pharmacy was loading Picsys machines, Biomed was setting up their equipment, contractors were running the O2 infrastructure, and news crews were there documenting the whole thing.
The RDK nurse call system includes a touchscreen server, one pendant for each patient, and four pagers. No internet connection is needed for the system, and no phone lines. The system is preprogrammed by the integrator, to be ready to use right out of the box. This capability is mission critical for overworked clinical staff who have neither the time nor the technical expertise to spend on installation. Each kit is designed for 40 patients, although expansion kits allow it to be used for many more. As easily as it is installed, the RDK can be uninstalled when the hospitals are no longer needed, and redeployed if needed again.
RCare’s founder and CEO Myron Kowal will be accepting the award at an exclusive virtual awards ceremony at noon on August 24.