Unified Video

Integrated video management system enables Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to handle its ever-changing security monitoring needs


The urban campus of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston is representative of many modern metropolitan healthcare institutions today — with a main campus in a busy city center that takes advantage of every available square inch. New buildings replace existing structures, existing facilities are reconfigured, and as the institutions continue to grow, their footprint expands into surrounding suburbs in an effort to serve their growing patient and research needs.

Internationally renowned for its unique blending of clinical and research operations to provide state-of-the-art cancer care, the institute supports more than 300,000 patient visits annually and is involved in some 700 clinical trials. In addition to four satellite locations in greater Boston and the main campus in the city’s Longwood medical area, the institute also maintains clinical affiliations and a physical presence at other high-profile institutions, such as Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard University.

Dana-Farber recently undertook its most significant expansion project to date — the design and construction of the institute’s new Yawkey Center for Patient Care. The project included demolition of two existing buildings and a street-level parking lot at its Boston headquarters to make room for the new 14-story building. The Center features more than 100 exam rooms, 150 infusion spaces and 20 consultation rooms.

Security Challenges & Solutions

During the three-year construction, security and facilities management staff had to evaluate the impact of the new facility on the multi-location infrastructure. Not only did the Yawkey Center add an additional 275,000 square feet of clinical and support space to the institute’s overall footprint, but security plans for the center included the addition of nearly 200 additional IP cameras that had to be seamlessly and efficiently married with Dana-Farber’s significant investment in its current CCTV surveillance equipment.

With 23 existing Intellex DVRs from American Dynamics and nearly 300 analog cameras already deployed, Dana-Farber security staff searched for a solution that would allow dispatchers in its security command center to have a single interface to view live and recorded feeds from both analog and IP cameras.

“Running two separate systems for analog and IP video was just not an option for us to deploy into our security monitoring operations,” says Ralph Nerette, Security Manager for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “The solution we chose had to be seamless for our dispatchers to be trained on and successfully use, regardless of whether video is coming from the DVR or NVR environment.”

Complicating this search were some additional responsibilities that Nerette’s security staff were poised to assume. As part of an overall renovation and upgrade project, central dispatch functions for facilities maintenance, housekeeping and environmental health and safety were about to become part of security operations. The institute’s new Facilities Security Operation Center (FSOC) would manage all two million square feet of clinical, research and administrative space and a call volume that sometimes exceeded 1,000 calls per day — requiring significantly more infrastructure than the current 120-square-foot security command center could handle.

“We needed much more functional space and the ability to segment equipment, reduce noise and allow our dispatchers to focus on customers and provide the level of service required of a security operation of this size,” Nerette says.

With such a large, functioning network of Intellex DVRs, Nerette and his staff worked with systems integrators Tesla Systems, (Georgetown, Mass.) and Team AVS (Westford, Mass.), to find a VMS solution that would allow the DVRs to be used in tandem with the new IP-based cameras and NVRs, as well as function as a platform for the future as the institute eventually migrates to a fully-IP-based solution.

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