Multi-Facility Security Standardization

It is an institution that boasts several medical firsts — the first X-ray in the United States in 1896, the first to use chemotherapy to treat cancer in 1942 and, in 1949, the development of the world’s first artificial heart pump.

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, YNHH 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.

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. This 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.


Access Control

On the access control side, the realization that the hospital’s existing platform would no longer give YNHH a technological edge occurred during the construction of Smilow Cancer Hospital in 2009, a 17-story, 500,000-square-foot building. 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, explains Marvin White, Manager of Physical Security and Protective Services for Yale-New Haven Hospital. “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,” White says. “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.”

With a new technology direction that involved Johnson Controls, which 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 sites onto the system over the hospital’s robust central network.

“Staying ahead of the technology curve is paramount in keeping patients, visitors, and staff safe,” says Nicholas Proto, the hospital’s Director of Parking and Transit Protective Services.

The multi-tiered plan would also include the significant undertaking of updating access credentials for more than 12,000 workers in the YNHH network as well as additional personnel from Yale New Haven Health System. This massive upgrade would affect over 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 — Johnson Controls devised a strategy to run the new access control system on the front end using proximity technology with the legacy access control system running in the background to support the existing magnetic stripe cards. Workstations running both access systems were placed next to each other and both tied to the HR database for new badge creation.

As part of the transition, 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 product’s Configuration Utility (ICU), technicians could easily perform remote programming, which was a great benefit to the hardware transition.


Video Surveillance

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 and control approach. Using the victor unified video management system from American Dynamics, which 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.

In addition, the hospital installed its first thermal imaging camera, which is also running on the management system. YNHH installed the camera to monitor an employee parking at its North Haven Medical Center. The thermal imaging camera enables YNHH to see through the foliage of the trees and track the heat of people and works in conjunction with surveillance cameras, emergency phones and the ability to dispatch based on suspect activity.

“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,” says Michael Parks, an 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.”

The system has made migrating to IP cameras an easy transition. New facilities, like the New Haven off-site emergency room and an ambulatory care center scheduled to open in early 2013 with more than 20 IP cameras and about 30 card readers, can be 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 there. 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 and the C•CURE system.


System Pays Dividends

Centralized reporting functions, as part of the access control software, were also an integral part of the new systems’ success. A Business Intelligence Reporting Suite (BIRS) is able to provide White and his team with customized reports from the C•CURE system that can be 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, with nearly 5 million square feet of real estate will allow us to monitor, track and analyze everything with greater ease,” White says. “We will have a snapshot of the system history at any given time, and we will know what types of things need to be attended to and how we can continue to improve.”

The new access and video systems have also allowed the hospital to enhance other areas of its operations, including internal food theft in cafeteria locations. A number of card readers are installed on refrigerators and freezers, while new cameras in a cafeteria are mounted above cash registers.

The benefits from a standardized, enterprise level security upgrade can also help YNHH comply with the many 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 the access control 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.