Memorial Hermann Centralizes Its Security Platform

This hospital’s software upgrade centralizes security across all locations for consistent database management and fluid procedures.

Five years ago, Houston-based Memorial Hermann Healthcare System’s security infrastructure included dozens of offline cameras, inconsistencies in database management, unused hardware components collecting dust and a security culture as disparate as the independently operating access control systems. The system security executive at that time, Joseph Bellino, recognized that security and procedures needed significant attention. The security department at Memorial Hermann had a tall task ahead of them that would ultimately take years to remedy.

Each site (except one) was operating a local version of Software House C•CURE 800/8000. The hospital needed to centralize the security systems, as well as the help of a systems integrator that understood its needs and could form a long-term partnership.

To complicate matters, as a non-profit organization, Memorial Hermann had budget and spending limitations. This meant that whatever plan the team developed for a security revamp would have to prove to C-level executives an easily recognizable value and return-on-investment. They also had to utilize existing network infrastructure for fault tolerance and resiliency, not to mention maintain 24/7 operations throughout any upgrade or conversion.

Team Recognizes Need for Centralization
As Memorial Hermann looked to identify the right solution to fit its needs, security personnel contacted Tyco Security Products and were introduced to integrator Scott Welborn from Tech Systems Inc. Memorial Hermann particularly liked the integrator’s “For Our Customers’ Ultimate Satisfaction (FOCUS)” program, which would fill in the gaps of the hospital system’s security operations by allowing Tech Systems to manage ongoing security procedures.

Together, after in-depth discussion and collaboration, Tech Systems, Tyco Security Products’ Software House Sales, Memorial Hermann IT and hospital security staff determined that Memorial Hermann should migrate to the Software House C•CURE 9000 platform, with all sites centrally managed from the organization’s headquarters. The platform needed to integrate the hospital system’s Hugs infant-protection product, six different video surveillance technologies and five audio/intercom products.

During the process, it was discovered that four of the 12 hospital locations were not on the Memorial Hermann corporate WAN. This presented a major challenge to get the IT department on board with expanding the corporate network to accommodate converging the security system. Memorial Hermann IT and Tech Systems worked closely for the ongoing conversion process and necessary maintenance.

The entire plan resolved the various issues of disparity and operational inconsistency, and offered a long-term savings on licensing fees. Before the upgrade, the individual systems created a lack of standardization for data input and management. With C•CURE 9000 in place, along with new policies for database input standardization, Memorial Hermann staff now has centralized management across multiple locations.

With the upgrade, the hospital rebuilt its command centers to include new computers, hardware and a video wall to capitalize on the capabilities of the newly integrated solution. The software’s flexibility and level of customization allowed the organization to integrate its infant protection system (Hugs) with C•CURE 9000, and also made cleaning up its 30,000-plus badge holder database as seamless as possible.  This included deleting unnecessary entries and editing the partitioning of each badge holder.

It was a priority for Memorial Hermann that the security platform upgrade would not interrupt any day-to-day security operations. During a previous attempt to upgrade the system, Memorial Hermann encountered a tremendous amount of issues resulting in an offline system and unlocked doors.

The team developed a migration path by which each location would be converted, one component at a time. To accomplish this, Tech Systems used a failsafe mockup of the new system and operated it for a full week prior to deactivating the old system. Once the testing period was complete, the original C•CURE 800/8000 machines ran alongside the C•CURE 9000 platform, as scripts extracted the data and then imported the data into the new platform. Then, to ensure seamless operations, the team tested each system, one component at a time.

Upgrade Leads to Efficiencies
With its new security platform in place, along with revamped standard operating procedures, Memorial Hermann has been able to streamline its security processes and eliminate inefficiencies with its access control systems across all locations, particularly for managing credentials and continuous updates.

Today, security at Memorial Hermann is overseen by senior security director Geoffrey Povinelli, who has been through a reorganization, acquisitions, organic growth and personnel changes at the hospital. That included a rebranding of the organization and the re-badging all of its 30,000 badge-holders.

This process could have easily become a logistical nightmare with so many partitions, schedules and the vast number of badges that needed to be re-printed. However, the integration between Memorial Hermann’s iTRUST HR database and C•CURE 9000 helped the project along, and continues to automate the database updates for new efficiencies and improved the integrity of the organization’s data.

“We intend to make significant upgrades to the video surveillance system and implement and integrate other security technologies in the near future,” says Povinelli. “These solutions will generate additional efficiencies and improved levels of situational awareness while enhancing incident management and reporting.”

Jim Stankevich is the healthcare security manager for Tyco Security products and is a past IAHSS board member.

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