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Northwest Community EMS

The new GEMSCOM NetManager™, configured specifically for Northwest Community Hospital is a fully automatic matrix patch system. Also at the hospital are two GEMS 2000 EMS communication consoles. Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, Illinois is one of the largest EMS systems in the Midwest and now relies on this system to provide essential EMS communications over a very large geographical region encompassing most of Chicago’s northwest suburbs.

NetManager (see description below) is the first fully automatic radio/telephone matrix connection system designed specifically for EMS. The Northwest Community system is now fully operational, permitting EMS, hospital based, fire services and private ambulances to automatically patch themselves — without a dispatcher/nurse — to any of the seven member hospitals of this system using UHF med-channels, VHF radio, cellular phone systems and landlines with one simple, highly user-friendly procedure. This switch not only reduces workforce requirements, but also substantially reduces connection times from minutes down to seconds! If the resource they are trying to contact is busy, NetManager notifies the caller by voice message so that they may seek another available resource. This enables optimal sharing of medical and communications resources particularly during emergencies or other periods of peak activity.

The Northwest Community Hospital installation employs an icon-based touch-screen monitor to display and manage all radio and telephone calls within the system. Each active call is independently displayed and the hospital-based operator may manually patch two or more (conference calls) with just a few touches of this screen — with full visualization of all activity. The operator may also connect themselves into any active call or to any resource (or multiple resources) within the system, regardless of the communications means (radio, cellular, landline).

GEMSCOM NetManager™ Communications Network Manager:
The General Devices’ GEMSCOM NetManager™ is a modular, microprocessor-based audio and data switching matrix capable of connecting multiple users, under local or remote control, with a radio/telephone communications network. The GEMSCOM NetManager consists of a PC based Operator Control Console and an Electronic Switching System contained within a rack-mounted chassis with plug-in, field replaceable cards. NetManager operates with all standard communication means (telephone, UHF/VHF radio ad cellular systems) and is compatible with standard phone lines, leased lines, and most radio systems.

NetManager’s Operator Console provides system control via a simple-to-use icon-based touch-screen or pointing device (mouse), permitting operation by minimally trained personnel with all call connections and status information clearly visible. Additional Operator Consoles may be added as needed. Connections between users may be established manually at the Operator Console or under the control of the calling party (remote control), minimizing personnel requirements. To ease operation and improve safety and user confidence, NetManager includes features such as “voice prompts” to acknowledge and advise callers of call progress status, automatic identification and selection of radio channels, as well as many other valuable features. Each connection (telephone or radio tie-line) to NetManager is serviced by an individual plug-in line card and under control of a central host card. Line cards are available for PSTN 2-wire dial-up “wet” lines, most in-house analog telephone systems, as well as 2-wire or 4-wire in-house/leased “dry” radio tie-lines. Interfaces are also available for standard voting equipment.

The GEMSCOM NetManager™ is designed to be fully configurable and expandable by the addition of add-on “building-block” racks and cards, while maintaining the system’s “core”. This enables NetManager to grow and adapt to changes within the communications network, including the use of multiple operator consoles. System reliability is assured by the GEMSCOM NetManager™ matrix’s architecture and self-diagnostics. Continual self-check and diagnostic status reports may be viewed at both the operator console or remotely from the factory or authorized service agent. Line cards feature digital (PC programmable) line-level settings that are stored by the matrix and may be up/down loaded either remotely or locally. This important feature makes card swaps a simple operation, reducing downtime. NetManager’s design even permits fully redundant operator consoles, master/slave host-cards, line-cards and power supplies to virtually eliminate downtime.

The General Devices GEMSCOM NetManager™ matrix is best suited wherever it is desirable to provide cost effective, highly reliable, automated call connections for a small to medium size radio/telephone communication system. Examples are:

  • EMS systems which need to connect calls from the field to hospitals or other agencies
  • Advanced EMS systems using telemedicine
  • Other public safety operations, such as EMS/Fire, where many calls need not be handled by the console operator
  • Private sector operations, such as utility companies, railroads, mining or oil drill/exploration, which employ radio/telephone communications systems but where call volume precludes a full-time operator
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