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With Lives on the Line, B-Line Medical Relies on Symetrix

Washington, DC – Whether a medical center delivers clinical care or is a training facility that employs medical simulation systems, ensuring efficiency, quality patient care, and safety are critical. To that end, hospitals and training centers employ video recording systems that monitor operating rooms and simulation rooms, capturing events as they occur for later debriefing and assessment. B-Line Medical is the world’s leading provider of video-driven healthcare education solutions for simulated and live clinical care environments. Both types of systems rely heavily on Symetrix DSPs.

“Even in a medical simulation center, where you don’t have to adhere as rigidly to medical construction standards as you do in a real clinic, the acoustical conditions are terrible-and it’s worse in clinics,” asserts B-Line Medical Manager of A/V Engineering and Design John Wormington. “You have high levels of ambient noise from medical equipment, poor microphone locations dictated by medical lighting, compact medical booms, sterile fields, and often high levels of noise from the patient or the operating theater. Nothing can be attached to the walls and everything must be able to be cleaned, so all surfaces are hard and acoustically reflective. It’s very rare to even have an acoustic ceiling.”

That’s where Symetrix DSPs come in. “You have to get very creative with the way you’re planning your DSP and the build-out of the room,” Wormington confirms. “Symetrix Prism and Radius DSPs support the kind of fully flexible DSP architecture we need to achieve a quality audio signal. Medical systems have to be totally reliable, as well, and we have had long-term continuous success in using Symetrix DSP products.”

B-Line’s LiveCapture system records live clinical events and offers secure streaming, monitoring, debriefing, and integrated checklists. “LiveCapture is very modular,” Wormington explains. “These are very simple systems, meant to go in a single room. Nothing leaves the room on any cable other than data lines. The Symetrix Prism 4×4 provides the DSP for the entire room: It controls the audio encoder and video encoder, and it enables us to link multiple rooms and multiple control spaces over Dante.”

The Prism 4×4 offers PoE (Power over Ethernet), which is important because anything that requires power in a medical treatment space must comply with strict code requirements to ensure safety. “We have to make sure our systems aren’t on the same power circuits as medical treatment devices,” Wormington notes, “but with PoE, that’s not an issue because we can deliver power from a network switch to the DSP.”

The Prism 4×4’s half-rack form factor is another advantage; it enables the DSP to fit in most medical situations. And the Prism’s support for Dante enables all communications in and out of the treatment room to be connected over IP, eliminating the need to shut down hallways and limit infection control involvement. “Symetrix makes the only DSPs with flexible architecture, PoE, and Dante,” declares Wormington. “You can find products with one or two of those but only Symetrix delivers all three.”

B-Line’s other main product is SimCapture, which delivers similar services for medical simulation facilities, where students are trained in medical procedures. Web based and mobile-friendly, SimCapture can capture and stream multiple angles of HD video in one or multiple simulation rooms at the click of a button, allowing instructors to record, debrief, and assess an individual learner or an entire class.

“These are large scale deployments with multiple interconnected rooms,” Wormington notes. “For efficiency, it’s likely you’ll have a distributed or centralized system. Unlike a hospital, we can take down an entire simulation center, if need be, to install or service an interconnected system. We’re networking 10 or 20 rooms, with a number of control spaces and large equipment rooms where the DSPs are mounted, so we use the larger Symetrix Radius AEC DSP, with acoustic echo canceling.”

In effect, with SimCapture, B-Line provides a recording studio as well as an educational tool. “That requires a robust DSP,” states Wormington. “With the Symetrix Radius, we can effect a wide variety of fixes for very bad rooms and do it fast. It takes a special DSP to make an acoustically unfriendly room sound good; I’ve seen people try to do the job with lower-end DSPs, and it ends up being unsuccessful.”

Wormington points to Symetrix support as the proverbial icing on the cake. “At B-Line Medical we are very client focused, and we expect the same from the manufacturers we do business with. The few times I have needed support from Symetrix, they have been without reproach. For these reasons, B-Line Medical has chosen and will continue to choose Symetrix products to be the keystone of our audio systems.”