Success Story: A Platform to Build On

March 20, 2012
A robust video surveillance system pays dividends for St. Vincent Medical Center and the surrounding Connecticut community

St. Vincent Medical Center is located in the heart of Bridgeport, the most populated city in Connecticut. With its geographically dispersed facilities, the main campus and offsite facilities welcome a steady stream of visitors from volunteers and residents to vendors, students and staff. Monitoring the daily number of people located throughout the campus grounds can be an overwhelming task for security personnel. Relying on the most sophisticated security system is the key to safeguarding the facilities around the clock.

St. Vincent’s officials understand the importance of security on its campus. Over the past several years, the security platform at St. Vincent has evolved to a feature-rich system able to accommodate business challenges.

When Director of Safety and Security Joe Laveneziana first joined St. Vincent’s Medical Center, he outlined three key security objectives to improve overall safety on campus: a technology-driven solution that will help minimize security personnel and staff; improvement of key performance indicators such as a quick response to potentially dangerous situations and investigative support for litigious cases; and aid in preventing crime in and around the hospital’s neighboring areas. “When I first began, there was an initial priority to build an infrastructure that would leverage our existing access control with video surveillance,” Laveneziana explains.

Construction of a new parking garage began in 2009, and with this new infrastructure, there was a need for upgraded surveillance that could connect wireless devices to cameras, enabling video transmission back to the central hub. “With a legacy system in place, we looked at newer technologies that could be easily leveraged for future upgrade initiatives,” Laveneziana says.
Laveneziana and his team selected Verint’s Nextiva Video Management software (VMS) to help monitor the new parking facility as well as locations throughout the campus from a central monitoring hub. The VMS platform provides St. Vincent’s with the ability to streamline video management functions and make sense of vast amounts of data collected by cameras and other business systems. The software captures high-quality video images from analog and IP cameras, quickly recalls live and recorded video for investigations, and provides a scalable, open platform for future system expansion.

Viewing live and recorded video is extremely important for security departments that rely on technology, rather than security staff, to monitor an extensive campus. However, the VMS is just a fraction of the overall system — recently, St. Vincent’s upgraded the VMS in conjunction with the installation of Nextiva S5000 series IP megapixel cameras. With more than 150 cameras on campus, the IP cameras deliver high-definition video up to 2 megapixels in resolution. Multi-streaming technology enables security staff to customize compression formats to meet specific surveillance requirements with efficient bandwidth management.

“The cameras provide us more coverage on campus with one camera,” Laveneziana says. “We are pleased with the level of detail provided for forensic purposes.” The cameras use Nextiva’s centralized device administration, system-wide device monitoring, and intelligent video distribution to make security initiatives more manageable. Plus, the IP cameras can be deployed side-by-side with analog cameras using Verint video servers.

St. Vincent’s initially deployed Nextiva’s S1708e encoders — 8-port video encoders with dual stream, MPEG-4 SP video and 4CIF/30fps — for the large-scale environment. By providing on-board analytics, the encoders analyze images at the point of capture, eliminating the need to send all video to centralized servers for analysis, thus reducing network bandwidth, storage and server requirements while providing accurate image analysis.

St. Vincent’s recently added the Nextiva S1800e series encoders, which feature H.264 and storage on the edge — a failover mechanism that ensures video is recorded if the connection with the central recorder server is lost — and camera tampering detection.

“Our job is to operate a cost-effective security operation with maximum efficiencies and technology that augments our security staff,” Laveneziana says. “We evaluate risk, implement cutting-edge technologies and demonstrate the value of security.”

System Benefits
St. Vincent’s has seen significant benefits. Leveraging the megapixel technology, campus security was able to track a convicted felon. The perpetrator was identified and the Bridgeport Police Department was called in to make the arrest. In another instance, a suspicious item was left behind and with the aid of high-resolution cameras and an alert security team, the item was immediately seized by authorities and inspected.

Based on the success of the current solution, St. Vincent’s extended the system to its new Elizabeth Pfriem SWIM Center for Cancer Care, and on surrounding city streets.
Laveneziana understands that security threats in hospitals continue to evolve. The day-to-day management of a variety of risks including visitors, gangs and behavioral health issues is too cumbersome for manpower alone. “We have 60 security officers that service both campus and off-site locations,” Laveneziana says. Manpower coupled with advanced technology, has been the key to securing St. Vincent’s, he adds.

Regulatory Compliance
Laveneziana’s team is tasked with ensuring regulatory compliance, emergency management, response and safety mandates. To show its commitment to safety, St. Vincent’s is participating in the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) certification process, created by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to recognize workplaces that have achieved exemplary occupational safety standards.

The medical center security staff is also responsible for the safety and security of St. Vincent’s College, an educational institution located on hospital grounds. Compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act is a mission-critical objective for Laveneziana’s team. The federal law requires colleges and universities to disclose annual information about campus crime and security policies.

In order to protect confidential patient information, St. Vincent’s must also comply with the HIPAA privacy rule, which provides federal protection for personal health information held by covered entities. To help restrict access to patient records storage in addition to security-sensitive areas such as labs and pharmacies, the medical complex leverages an advanced access control platform from DSX which is integrated with the surveillance infrastructure.

Community Protection
One of St. Vincent’s most innovative projects has yet to commence. Recently serving on a panel with the City of Bridgeport, Laveneziana helped design an integrated solution that would remotely connect city cameras with the hospital’s security system.

The city recently received a grant from the Department of Emergency Management & Homeland Security (DEMHS) to improve city-wide security measures. As such, it will be implementing IP cameras with megapixel technology to help monitor its streets and neighborhoods. Under the City’s expanding security infrastructure, it will be able to integrate with IP cameras located at proprietary sites such as St. Vincent’s, allowing the City of Bridgeport to view neighborhood video in an effort to deter community crime and provide another forensic evidence tool. “We proposed the megapixel cameras on our campus due to ease of integration with the City of Bridgeport Police Department’s proposed infrastructure,” Laveneziana says.

The City of Bridgeport plans to integrate with other facilities, including financial institutions, retail organizations and other high-risk areas to develop a systematic approach to mitigating risk. “The city’s goal is to have the capability to tap into our server and use the city’s incident command center technology to manage safety risks outside of our facility grounds,” Laveneziana says.

About the Author

Staff Reports

Editorial and news reports authored by the media team from Cygnus Security Media, including, Security Technology Executive magazine and Security Dealer & Integrator (SD&I) magazine.