Securing the Old with the New

New England healthcare system addresses unique security issues

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 C•CURE 9000.

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 to improve.”

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 cash registers.

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.

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