Georgia Hospital Undergoes Integration Operation

TIFTON, Ga. – An integrated, networked video surveillance and access control system cures the security ills of a 191-bed hospital in South Central Georgia. The remedy prescribed allows security personnel to download floor plans, set up alert levels, perform instant lockdowns and more.

An award-winning medical facility recognized for innovative services and customer satisfaction, Tift Regional Medical Center is a 191-bed hospital serving 12 counties in South Central Georgia. With its legacy system beginning to fail and to ensure the safety of its 95 physicians, 1,500 staff members, 24 security officers, patients and visitors, hospital decision makers prioritized bringing security in line with the organization’s forward-thinking approach.

Several key factors had to be considered when evaluating the possible security solutions. Poised for growth, the medical center’s expansion includes a new intensive care unit that is currently under construction. Tift Regional Medical Center also supports several remote locations that are managed from the main campus, including a second medical campus with doctors’ offices and facilities in adjacent towns.

Working closely with systems integrator CooperCraft Communications, the medical facility selected a combined digital video and networked access control solution that, among other things, provided smooth integration, the ability to download floor plans, set up alert levels and lock down the facility instantly. It also allowed for the expansion capabilities as the hospital’s footprint and security requirements continue to grow.

New System Needed to Keep Campus Ahead of Curve
Tift Regional Medical Center security specialist Lt. Nicholas DeJohn can’t help but view hospital security from a law enforcement perspective. DeJohn joined the hospital after a successful career as a Connecticut State Police officer, and never forgets how important speed and agility are when it comes to keeping communities and citizens safe.

“Hospitals are no longer sacred areas,” says DeJohn. “We need to be able to secure this facility at a moment’s notice.” He is particularly concerned about being able to secure the emergency room and nursery. “Everyone should feel secure when coming to our hospital.”

With an outdated security system, the management and administrative tasks were increasingly time consuming. Components were beginning to break down, and it was difficult to replay video and access reports. The system was barely able to fulfill the hospital’s security needs, let alone improve efficiency within the facility.

When it came time to review possible replacements, DeJohn knew he wanted a single system that could grow to tie all of the medical center’s facilities together. He also wanted the ability to ensure the safety of patients, visitors and staff. It would need to streamline processes and improve monitoring capabilities.

Finally, the system had to be capable of both handling a large-scale deployment and being able to expand as the medical center grew.

Integrator, Distributor Collaborate to Provide Solution
With a reputation for reliability and a relationship of trust built over time, CooperCraft Communications was tasked by DeJohn to provide recommendations on a new system.

The company specified the combination of S2 Security Corp. access control and Dedicated Micros (DM) video surveillance technology to DeJohn. “This is one of the best IP-based systems we have seen,” says Jerry Cooper, CEO of CooperCraft. “We consulted Scott Bryan [regional security manager for Anixter], our IT distribution partner. He reviewed the project and recommended the solution as a perfect fit for this type of project. We were able to come in with a more cost-effective system and still do everything they wanted us to do.”

“We love to take an end user like Tift Regional Medical Center and an integrator like CooperCraft and bring them an integrated solution,” says Bryan. “That is what Anixter does best; we bring best of breed for the application they have. I love recommending DM against any conventional DVR because it is so easy to use and it integrates so well with the S2 platform.

Anixter has experienced huge success recommending the S2 platform for integrated security projects.”

The two systems are completely compatible, and connecting them together on the network was a simple procedure accomplished in the software user interface. Although the project’s many components will take several stages to roll out, DeJohn is already seeing the benefits of an IP-based system.

“We have buildings scattered throughout the area, and need to be able to pull all of the locations together,” says DeJohn. “Now, we can get on the network from any point and make things work with excellent video integration. And our IT team is impressed that you don’t have to load software on their system.”

For this large-scale deployment, S2 NetBox and DM’s solution offered a high level of flexibility, scalability and ease of implementation. Tony Cooper, Jerry’s brother and the project manager for CooperCraft, says, “The simple ease of installation and programming of both systems was extremely important in job efficiency.”

CCTV/Access System Includes 10 DVRs, 65 Doors
Tony Cooper’s skill and expertise led to a smooth retrofit installation from the old legacy control system to the new S2/DM system. The most problematic issues were the logistics of the hardware and the existing system cabling.

“In order to keep job costs in line with Tift Regional’s budget, the old cabling for the security system was utilized where possible,” says Tony Cooper. “As with any retrofit installation, there were several other challenges, but due to good planning and project management, the installation was a success.”

In addition to the new systems being installed without the need to run new cable, no special databases had to be configured. The S2/DM devices integrate over a standard IP network. Events detected by the access control and alarm monitoring systems of the NetBox can initiate video recording; likewise, video motion detection by the recorder can trigger alarms on the NetBox.

The S2 user interface allows single-click retrieval of video associated with an event from any Web browser. Additionally, the video replay and report generating that used to take security staff up to seven hours to find now takes seconds using DM’s Digital Sprite 2.

The project included completely renovating the security command room with new business furniture to create an efficient, functional space. “Previously, the old furniture and multiple CRT monitors took up most of the space in the room,” says Jerry Cooper. “With the renovation, Tift Regional now has a security office capable or supporting general office work and the administration of their security systems.”

With the first stage of installation complete, the Tift Medical Center system currently runs approximately 120 cameras, 10 DVRs – each connected to its own monitor – and access control for 65 doors. Plans call for the immediate addition of another 30 cameras, two DVRs and seven doors.

Floor Plan Download Function Piques Specialist’s Interest
DeJohn continues to marvel at the system’s advanced features. “I am very interested in the system’s ability to download floor plans for the hospital, set up alert levels and lock down certain areas immediately,” he says. “If an incident occurred, I could even go out with local enforcement and control any door I needed to, remotely.”

He is so pleased that he has visited other hospitals to demonstrate the system’s ability to show live video, run reports and unlock doors from remote locations.

“This is the system of the future,” says DeJohn. “With an IP-based system, we are four to five years ahead of other hospitals in our ability to monitor and control things. And the technology work so well toge
ther, it actually makes our jobs in security easier.”


Campus at a Glance

Campus: Tift Regional Medical Center is a 191-bed hospital located in Tifton, Ga., serving 12 counties in South Central Georgia. Total personnel at the center include 95 physicians, 1,500 staff members and 24 security officers.

Problem: The legacy system was beginning to fail, and the management and administrative tasks were increasingly time consuming. It was difficult to replay video and access reports.

Solution: An IP-based security system incorporating Dedicated Micros DVRs, Pelco cameras, HID proximity readers, HES locking hardware, S2 access control systems and badge design system; a Fargo badge printer, Schlage locking hardware and Sony LCD HDTVs.

Results: An integrated system that is scalable and can tie all of the facilities together. Processes have been streamlined, and there is now improved monitoring. Additionally, the security command center was renovated so there is more room for office work and security administration.


Jamie M. Farrell handles public relations and marketing for S2 Security Corp. and can be reached at Jamie@s2sys.com.

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