Securing the Old with the New
New England healthcare system addresses unique security issues
- By Jim Stankevich
- Oct 01, 2014
It’s an institution that boasts several medical firsts—the first X-ray in the
United States in 1896; the first facility to use chemotherapy to treat cancer
in 1942; and, in 1949, the development of the world’s first artificial heart
pump, a device now part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian.
For Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH), a 1,500-bed tertiary care hospital
with world-renowned specialties in pediatrics, cancer treatment and psychiatrics,
technological advancements are part of its DNA.
The teaching hospital for the prestigious Yale School of Medicine is the flagship
facility of Yale New Haven Health System, Connecticut’s largest healthcare
system, which encompasses a host of other treatment facilities dotting New England’s
southern shoreline. The YNHH organization and its parent health system
occupy buildings that range from brand new to more than 150 years old.
The cornucopia of access control and video surveillance technologies that accompanied
these facilities, ranging in size, age and technologies, presented their
own integration challenges for security and safety staff.
Security Needs an Upgrade
Hospital security officials knew an upgrade to this disparate and diverse array of
equipment would allow them to centralize the management and maintenance of
security operations of the major YNHH facilities, a list that includes such locations
as the former Hospital of Saint Raphael Campus, a neighboring New Haven
hospital that YNHH acquired in September 2012. Other sites include a new, large,
off-site IT Administration and Outpatient Clinical Care facility in nearby North
Haven and eight other major satellite inpatient and outpatient treatment centers.
Streamlining would represent savings not only for Protective Services’ Security
Technology Division, but also for Patrol Operations, which performs foot and vehicle
patrols, security response units, emergency dispatch, and locksmith duties for
all YNHH facilities.
On the access control side, the realization that the hospital’s existing access control
platform would no longer give YNHH a technological edge occurred during
the construction of Smilow Cancer Hospital in 2009, a 17-story, 500,000-squarefoot
building on downtown New Haven’s Park Street. Because the system was not
scalable to meet the needs of the new building, this marked a turning point for the
hospital and the direction of the security technology.
“We knew that our mix of different systems was not giving us the critical information
we needed to make the split-second and strategic decisions about our ongoing
security operations,” said Marvin White, manager of physical security and
protective services at the Yale-New Haven Hospital. “Not only did we need to have
this information for our own department, but we lacked the system intelligence to
provide that information to the rest of our organization.”
Overhauling Security Technology
With a new technology direction that involved Johnson Controls, who was selected
as the systems integrator for Smilow Cancer Hospital, and an upgrade and expansion
of the video and access systems, YNHH chose the C•CURE 9000 security
and event management platform from Software House. The team carved out a
phased approach that would ultimately transition more than 12 individual YNHH
sites onto C•CURE 9000 over the hospital’s robust central network.
“The deployment of this new centralized management platform will integrate
the hospital’s disparate security systems together to make YNHH’s overall security operation and response more efficient and effective,” said Michael Parks, account
executive with Johnson Controls. “The ability to see both video and access
alarms on one unified platform provides the necessary information to the officers
monitoring the security operations. Once the hospital has fully deployed C•CURE
9000, they will have the benefit of expanding and scaling the system to meet their
needs, however big they might grow.”
Such a sweeping overhaul of the hospital’s security technology was considered
necessary by hospital officials to maintain and enhance not only the institution’s
level of safety and security, but as an overall contribution to YNHH’s renowned
standard of patient care.
“We’re very proud of our position as one of the leading hospitals in the United
States, and staying ahead of the technology curve is paramount in keeping patients,
visitors and staff safe,” said Nicholas Proto, director of protective services,
parking and transit at the Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Employee credentials and badging. The multi-tiered plan would include the significant
undertaking of updating access credentials for more than 12,000 workers
in the YNHH network as well as additional staff from Yale New Haven Health
System. This massive upgrade would affect more than 1,000 doors and readers in
the YNHH network alone.
To accomplish such a comprehensive and multi-stage migration and expansion—
and avoid issuing brand new credentials to nearly 20,000 employees —the
team devised a strategy to run C•CURE 9000 on the front end using proximity
technology with the legacy access control system running in the background
to support the existing magnetic stripe cards. At the Saint Raphael Campus,
C•CURE 9000 is in the process of being installed to replace barcode technology
from yet another legacy access control platform.
Workstations running C•CURE 9000 and the legacy system are placed next to
each other and are both tied to the HR database for new badge creation. When a
new employee credential is created, the feed from the HR database goes into both
C•CURE 9000 and the legacy system so that the new cardholders can use readers
on both systems.
Upgrading analog to IP. In tandem with the access control project, Johnson
Controls set out to upgrade YNHH’s analog CCTV system to a more modern IP
surveillance network that would allow for a similar centralized command-andcontrol
approach. Using the victor unified video management system from American
Dynamics that merges video from IP and analog devices into a single, unified
interface, security personnel can view feeds from more than 800 cameras from the
central command center on York Street.
Remote programming by IT. New iSTAR controllers from Software House were
installed in IT closets throughout the YNHH network. Because the data closets
are very small, there is little space for technicians to move around, making it difficult
to perform on-site programming. However, using the iSTAR Configuration
Utility (ICU), technicians could easily perform remote programming, which was
a great benefit to the hardware transition. To save additional space, rack-mounted
iStars were incorporated in the recent Emergency Department renovation as well.
Thermal imaging. The hospital also installed its first thermal imaging camera,
which is also running on the victor unified management system. YNHH installed
the camera to monitor an employee parking area at its North Haven Medical Center.
The thermal imaging camera enables YNHH to see through the foliage of the
trees, track the heat of people and works in conjunction with surveillance cameras,
emergency phones and the ability to dispatch based on suspect activity.
Successes of the New Security System
With the addition of victor, migrating to IP cameras has been a much easier transition.
New facilities, like the New Haven off-site emergency room and an ambulatory
care center that opened in early 2013, with more than 20 IP cameras and
about 30 card readers, was easily added to the hospital’s IT network. Simple PoE
switches feed the video back to the hospital’s server farm in New Haven, where it’s
recorded on a bank of 22 VideoEdge network video servers.
In all, Yale-New Haven’s 900 cameras—about 150 of which are analog—are viewable on five 42-inch monitors in
the security control center facility at
the hospital’s main campus. All other
systems, such as the hospital’s Motorola
radio system and PPM 2000 incident
management software, are also
centralized here. More than 150 panic
alarms from the hospital’s Lynx Duress
and mass notification system, deployed
in areas such as Psychiatrics and the
Adult Emergency Department, are also
fed back to the dispatch facility into
Centralized reporting functions,
as part of the access control software,
were also an integral part of new system’s
success. The Business Intelligence
Reporting Suite (BIRS) from Software
House is able to provide White and his
team with customized reports from
C•CURE 9000 that can be, in turn,
provided to other directors within the
hospital network. Those reports could
include card reader usage over a given
period of time or specific data on badge
holders who accessed a particular area
over the previous weekend.
“A standardization project of this
size, nearly 5 million square feet of real
estate on a corporate level, will allow
us to monitor, track and analyze everything
with greater ease,” said White.
“We’ll have a snapshot of the system’s
history at any given time, and we’ll
know what types of things need to be
attended to and how we can continue
The new access and video systems
have allowed the hospital to enhance
other areas of its operations, as well,
including internal food theft in cafeteria
locations. A number of card readers
are installed on refrigerators and freezers,
while 12 new cameras in the East
Pavilion cafeteria are mounted above
The benefits from a standardized,
enterprise-level security upgrade also
can help YNHH comply with a multitude
of industry regulations that govern
hospital operations. For example, the
hospital is currently exploring how the
access and video systems can streamline
YNHH compliance with new rules
from The Joint Commission concerning
the storage of certain prescription
narcotics by using electronic locks and
card readers tied into C•CURE 9000.
Using the security management system,
security officials will also be able to centrally
manage access to the hospital’s
more than 175 prescription cabinets as
well as use BIRS reporting to generate
audit trail reports.
To date, about 50 percent of
YNHH locations have transitioned to
C•CURE 9000, including sites such as
a pediatric radiology center in Norwalk
and the Saint Raphael Campus. When
the upgrades are complete, YNHH will
have an established platform capable of
supporting healthy, scalable growth for
years to come.
This article originally appeared in the October 2014 issue of Security Today.