Advanced AV, with multiple locations throughout the mid-Atlantic region, has taken a holistic approach to meeting the needs of Main Line Health, a group of hospitals and health centers in a northwestern suburb of Philadelphia. The firm, which designs, builds, and installs major collaborative meeting environments around IT networking technologies, has initiated AV equipment standards across the medical group to streamline operation and maintenance and reduce requirements for in-house personnel.

“They have a lot of the same challenges that many organizations have,” noted Advanced AV account executive Eric Bixler. “They have limited AV staff. They’re primarily supported by IT, which also supports the desktops.

Main Line Health maintains several principal hospitals, in Wynnewood, Bryn Mawr, and Paoli, in addition to The Walter and Leonore Annenberg Conference Center for Medical Education at Lankenau Hospital. With the facilities scattered along the historic railway corridor, Bixler asked, “How do they support all these different rooms and locations with limited staff?”

When the health group’s director of information services customer support, Steve Czapla, came on- board five years ago, he soon discovered there was no reliable after-sales service from the existing vendor. After an initial trial project with Advanced AV, Czapla spoke with Bixler about putting service contracts in place across the group, and soon found that “their response times for service are amazing,” Czapla reported.

In addition to the service contracts, Advanced AV is delving into its experience in the healthcare sector to create a more tenable technology solution for Main Line Health. “We’ve been working with them to help them develop standards so that they can have a serviceable and maintainable solution,” Bixler said. “Now we’re in the process of renovating and updating technology so that the end user experience is s consistent with the standard in the other hospitals that we’ve been maintaining.”

For Main Line Health’s corporate offices, which were consolidated and relocated to a facility with a number of conference rooms, Bixler explained, “We came up with some very simple, straightforward solutions from Crestron, with Mitsubishi projectors, that would be consistent with the standards.”

The new technology has already made a difference, Czapla noted: “They’ve redesigned the control panels in some of our rooms and that has made them much more intuitive. Users are no longer afraid to be self-sufficient and operate the AV equipment on their own.”

Advanced AV has also been working on improving videoconferencing between sites, installing new infrastructure. “It’s important for them to have good, reliable systems in order to communicate and share content,” Bixler said. Upgrades include Polycom HD systems, complete with a Polycom bridge and the Converged Management Application (CMA).

Here, too, Czapla has been pleased with the results: “CMA allows us to integrate the videoconferencing into our Outlook scheduling system, hopefully reducing the dependence on our field staff to be in the room to activate the videoconference unit. We’re also putting in Crestron’s RoomView. Folks at one hospital can remote in to a conference room at another hospital and turn things on or off or see if there’s a problem.” The RoomView server also integrates with Outlook for scheduling.

Advanced AV is now in the process of integrating Sonic Foundry’s Mediasite into Main Line Health’. “We’ll be able to screen events live with the presenter on one side of the screen and a PowerPoint presentation on the other. And we can screen live to another conference room or to desktops,” Czapla said. Programs will also be recorded for later on-demand streaming over the group’s intranet. “We’re looking at that being a big boom for our medical education programs,” he said.