Updated: Apr 8, 2019
It’s a 24-hour, non-stop enterprise with the added challenge of dealing with staff, patients, and visitors in high stress situations on a regular basis. Because of this hospitals and health care settings continue to be one of the most challenging environments in which security professional’s work.
Not only do security professionals need to maintain a sterile environment when working in a hospital as they upgrade existing systems or install new, but often times they are asked to implement an access control or video system with as little disruption as possible to patients, employees and the overall security of the site.
Working in a health care environment is unlike any other setting. According to the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety, healthcare facilities are high-stress environments, requiring special security considerations.
So what is a security professional to do when it comes to embarking on a new security project? What are some of the steps systems integrators and security directors need to take to ensure a smooth transition with minimal interruptions to patients, nurses, doctors and also the security project itself?
Take a look at Yale-New Haven Hospital and Yale-New Haven Health Systems which recently underwent a large-scale security technology upgrade. It needed to occur with the least amount of disruption yet with the highest level of successful outcome.
Officials for the Connecticut-based, 1,500-bed, Level-I Trauma hospital, world-renowned for outstanding patient care and medical technology, undertook a sweeping overhaul of the hospital’s security technology. This was done to maintain and enhance security and safety throughout the facility and campus while contributing to the premiere standards of patient care.
A significant part of the multi-tiered plan involved updating access control and credentials for more than 12,000 workers in both the hospital’s and the health care system’s network. More than 1,000 doors and readers were impacted.
So how does this occur without a major disruption in the critical workflow that the hospital undertakes each day? Unlike a 9-to-5 business, there are no opportunities to pause the system overnight or on a weekend so everyone can be outfitted with new cards and to swap out all the readers and associated hardware.
To accomplish this comprehensive and multi-stage migration and expansion, a strategy was deployed to run the new platform — Software House’s C•CURE 9000 security and event management system — on the front end using proximity technology, while still running the legacy access control system on the backend to support the existing card technology.
As new people were added to the credentialing system, they were placed, via the HR database, into both the new and the legacy systems so cardholders could use readers from both systems. This way the deployment could happen over time, without interfering with daily activities.
Also behind the scenes, YNHH upgraded its CCTV system to an IP surveillance network, added its first thermal imaging camera, continued its migration to IP cameras and made improvements in its centralized reporting functions. And yet, to the doctors, nurses, administrators, and most importantly to the patients, there were minimal outward signs that this was all taking place.
The benefits of improved security are myriad, from the ability to follow in real time, throughout the system, critical visuals, alarms and data; to the cost savings that come from streamlining and centralizing operations; to the ability to better meet the regulatory expectations from the various groups that govern hospital operations.
-New Haven Hospital has always been at the forefront of technology, whether it was the first X-ray in 1896 or the development of the first artificial heart pump in 1949. Now, with its migration to a cutting-edge security network, it continues that long tradition and provides security professionals with great example of a successful security project in a health care setting.