Security, STAT

Endless possibilities take medical center into the future

Since 1925, northern New Jersey has turned to Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck for healthcare excellence. While its patient volume and service delivery have recently undergone extensive expansion, Holy Name Medical Center employed an outdated and difficult-to-maintain security system that had outlived its usefulness. Holy Name’s newly built Emergency Care Center and status as a Medical Coordination Center for disaster preparedness helped drive the funding needed to invest in a new security management system. Hospital officials chose AMAG Technology’s Symmetry Security Management System with Symmetry Video. This offered Holy Name access control, video and alarm monitoring on one platform.

An important requirement of the new system was the ability to integrate with systems already in place. Symmetry integrates with the existing time and attendance system, and employees now use the same badge for access control and time and attendance. It also integrates with HNMC’s Human Resources PeopleSoft software, which simplified the employee registration process because personnel data is only entered once into the PeopleSoft system.

“When they register an employee in PeopleSoft, that person is enrolled in the time and attendance software and Symmetry system,” said David George, installing integrator at Engineered Security Systems Inc. “They print the badge, and they are done. That was a key feature they wanted in the system.”

Planning for the Future, Now
In addition to the main campus location, an administrative building, a fitness center located in a nearby town and the soon-to-open Villa Marie Claire hospice are all protected by Symmetry SMS. ESS and Holy Name’s IT department studied how the camera resolution would stream via the network and determined how much bandwidth was truly necessary to produce the video quality Holy Name required. ESS recommended making use of an existing fiber network that was not currently being used. The separate network provides plenty of room for the rapid growth anticipated by HNMC.

“One of the biggest problems we see is that companies don’t perform the proper calculations and place anything on their existing network,” said Ken Whelan, ESS’ engineer. “Since the original design, Holy Name has almost doubled the number of cards and cameras. That would have overloaded the system and been a disaster if it wasn’t on a separate network.”

ESS originally designed a futureproof system, so as more components were added, the network was not affected. For example, a recently added video server didn’t affect the system at all. ESS also encouraged Holy Name to purchase more camera licenses than the original system design recommended.

Everyday Security
Approximately 160 cameras monitor main doors, corridors, elevators, intersections, the behavioral health unit and the facilities management area. PTZ cameras scan the ER and parking lots.

“If we have an incident, we pull up the camera in the virtual matrix and review the video,” said Jerry Conway, Holy Name Medical Center’s security manager. “We may not be viewing cameras every minute of the day, but we can always look back and track someone. The more cameras we install, the easier it is to do that.”

Nearly 40 security officers rotate shifts to man the command center 24 hours a day. The security command center is located adjacent to the emergency department and contains four 42-inch LCD screens on the wall. Camera images stream to three screens, and alarms are displayed on the fourth screen. Two workstations with 20-inch screens monitor control points and assist with badge production.

Security officers also can access the system at remote stations throughout the medical center. The remote stations allow the officers to view activity instantaneously and respond quickly to alarms. The officers appreciate the user friendliness of the system when performing functions such as opening doors remotely and retrieving archived video.

Unique Benefits
As an Medical Coordination Center, Holy Name shares information about hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, health departments and EMS agencies with other local hospitals and the state. Mutualink, a Web-based interoperability system, allows Holy Name to share radio channels and video systems with the eight other MCC hospitals. In the event of a large-scale emergency, video of Holy Name’s Emergency Department or lobby can be sent electronically to the state for review and analysis over the Mutualink network.

“As an MCC, Holy Name can provide information about the health side of a disaster,” said Chuck Gerity, Holy Name’s assistant vice president of emergency preparedness. “Symmetry is another source to provide information through the MCC to the state.”

Holy Name had planned on purchasing a separate guard tour system for its security officers. With 160 camera views streaming into the video’s virtual matrix, the security officers could see everything necessary to perform their jobs effectively. Symmetry provided camera control, and the officers controlled what the cameras viewed.

A quick-view feature has provided Holy Name’s security officers with information to determine the cause of alarms. A tab on the monitoring screen allows an officer to take a retroactive look at what caused an alarm.

The Future is Here
Once Holy Name Medical Center fully understood the system’s capabilities, planning for the future began immediately. Holy Name is planning to interface its visitor parking lot’s cashier system, creating a system that will control who enters and leaves the parking lot.

Contractors and temporary staff will be given cards with an expiration date and will be allowed to park in the visitor lot until their card expires. The cards also will count the number of cars in the lot and help manage traffic flow.

The Threat Level Manager module has been installed and soon will be integrated with Holy Name’s infant protection system via alarm points. In the event of an emergency, Symmetry TLM will instantly lock down the LDRP unit so only security officers can move around the floor.

“Threat Level Manager allows us great flexibility,” Gerity said. “We plan to use as many features as we can. The robustness of the system is one of the reasons we chose it.”

The medical center has already started to reassess its facility, as well as the system’s capabilities. They’ve received federal funding and are reapplying for a grant to fine-tune high-priority areas, such as the ventilation system, facilities management areas and critical infrastructure within the complex.

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