The physics of healthcare access control

Albert Einstein Healthcare Network finds a seamless and secure badging solution


At the start of the project, Jones considered the option of producing the ID badges in-house with rented equipment and temporary staff. But, in addition to the cost and time required by his protective services team to manage and supervise the project, Jones was concerned about the possible waste due to mistakes made in badge creation. He wanted a turnkey solution to produce the cards quickly with the least amount of hand-holding.

Based on Siemens and HID Global's recommendations, AEHN leveraged HID's expertise by choosing the HID Identity on Demand (IoD) services rather than producing the badges in-house. The IoD services securely produced personalized credentials quickly, efficiently and within budget. It worked with AEHN every step of the way, ensuring each card detail was perfect so that they could securely transfer sensitive information from their database.

To guarantee that AEHN's KRONOS payroll system worked accurately and flawlessly with these cards, IoD printed 50 cards that were then tested over two payroll cycles. The cards performed perfectly each time and proved their compatibility with the KRONOS payroll system. "Allowing us to do a test run of the new ID cards with our payroll system gave us peace of mind," Jones says.

Once they confirmed the payroll and ID cards were fully integrated, AEHN provided a database of employees and their photos so the badges could be printed and encoded off-site at IoD's card production facility. Within four weeks, AEHN had 7,000 newly branded badges incorporating the new technology. "Using Identity on Demand services for the re-badging aspect of this project was a significant benefit because it required minimal involvement from me and my team, allowing us to focus on other high-priority issues," Jones says.

As the Weigand swipe readers were replaced in phases with iCLASS contactless card readers, the dual-technology cards were compatible across multiple facilities. The remaining 3,000 of the 10,000 printed cards only featured contactless technology, since eventually all the Weigand equipment will be replaced with the new iCLASS readers.

Results and the Future

Four weeks after initiating the project with HID Global's IoD group, AEHN had 7,000 personalized badges that announced their new brand, increased security with the latest technology and seamlessly integrated with the payroll system.

The entire project was completed on time and within budget. Since adoption of the new smart-card badges, a variety of other departments have integrated other functions including single sign-on to computers, enhancing the security of AEHN information throughout the organization; and cashless vending, integrating cafeteria and vending systems to work with the payroll system.

Future plans for the multi-application platform include tracking employees' mandatory vaccinations and adding credentials of physicians for visiting doctors in case of a disaster. Down the road, the network is hoping to integrate the access-control proximity cards with medical records and patient info as well.

In the near future, AEHN is incorporating a fifth hospital and campus in Montgomery, Pa., to the security network that HID Global and Siemens has provided.

A side benefit to the project is a major savings in card replacements. With the legacy Wiegand swipe technology, AEHN replaced approximately 1,000 employee ID cards every year due to wear-and-tear. Now, less than 100 of the new cards are replaced yearly.