Special Focus: Healthcare--Prognosis Positive

Dealers and integrators use TLC to keep healthcare customers coming back


Poulin’s story is interesting in that he comes from the IT/networking side of the business as an operations and IT director for a restaurant franchise for 30-plus years. He migrated into the business as a general contractor, starting with IP video exclusively. “But I quickly realized that, especially in a town the size of Daytona, that there were not enough customers able to afford IP. So I backed into analog systems and offer both,” he said.

One of Poulin’s customers is Vidant Beaufort Hospital in Washington, N.C. The hospital was originally Beaufort County Hospital when he became a vendor there, but about 18 months ago the hospital was purchased by Vidant Health, a not-for-profit chain of about 11 hospitals in the region. He is currently working with the provider to do business with other hospitals in the network.

Poulin said healthcare facilities are looking at video as a valuable security tool. “Some facilities use or are considering the use of tablets with wireless connections to the security network to allow personnel to maintain a view of some of the areas of the campus as they tour.”

Another of Poulin’s recent projects included access control combined with HD video/audio for sensitive areas in a Behaviorial Health department where patients were placed by the judicial system and are technically incarcerated. “The use of high-definition video as well as audio at the entrance doors provides a high level of security as staff can investigate who is requesting entry and for what purpose,” he said. “The same type of system was also installed at a 24-hour rehabilitation facility where security risks can be high, especially during the middle of the night. Along with the staff at the rehab center having the ability to see and hear activities at the door using an iPhone, the security personnel on duty also see activities on the large display in the security office,” Poulin said.

 

The other side of healthcare: controlling costs

While security and safety is an ongoing concern and mandate for healthcare customers, RFI Communications & Security Systems, a Security-Net member based in San Jose, Calif., has found that even though these customers are tightening their belts and cutting costs, they may be educated, through audits, to look at technology as a way to accomplish those goals. “You have to understand the environment and the budget is a big driver,” said Brad Wilson, CPP and president. “The healthcare market is concerned over costs and budgeting and technology can help them better control those costs moving forward. (Wilson is also a past president of Security-Net and currently sits on the organization’s product technology review committee.)

RFI Communications & Security Systems gives lots of TLC to healthcare customers…staying active with IAHSS and working on full systems solutions, training and security and safety audits. “They have to do audits of the business, to know how technology can help them control their costs,” Wilson said. “It goes beyond traditional security. For example, how do you protect data in the computers that the healthcare users are wheeling around?” he asked.

The dynamics of the healthcare customer are extensive, there are regulations and compliance with the Joint Commission, fire and life safety considerations, safety, areas where cash is exchanged, drug dispensaries, risk meditation, active shooter scenarios, disaster planning, and the list goes on and on. For a systems integrator who doesn’t have the full picture of how to nurture this customer, “you can lose money very quickly,” Wilson said.

RFI Communications & Security Systems has multiple personnel engaged with healthcare customers to fully cover this dynamic and help them become proactive, rather than reactive, in their approach to safety and security. One of the company’s current subscribers is Kaiser Permanente, where they have worked up a master plan for this healthcare provider—and IP connectivity and integrated systems are front and center to that plan as well as many others in this vertical market.

 

Integration within

“Hospitals and their security is becoming more integrated into the overall operations,” Wilson continued. “Global security operations will become more commonplace as security grows, and facilities will tie them together with WANs,” he said. “We do a lot of fire and life safety for healthcare customers and mass notification has really become big for them, as well for other verticals.” They are also starting to embrace wireless locks and video analytics. The integrator will benefit if they can align themselves clearly with the challenges healthcare providers have,” he said.