Security System Gives Hospital Advantages, New Life

Upgrading Jackson Hospital's entire security system - which included the installation of a new access control system and integration with a digital video system - has already saved money, property loss and lives.
Published: August 31, 2005

Founded in 1946, Jackson Hospital and Clinic, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization providing central Alabama with quality, cost-effective health services. With nearly 400 acute-care beds and a campus encompassing about 13 city blocks, it ranks among the largest hospitals in Alabama and is widely recognized for the excellence in care it has traditionally provided to all who use its services.
While the hospital has stayed at the forefront of medical technology through the years, its security systems had become outdated. We didn’t have anything. As far as access control, we had no keyless entries. We had old VHS camera systems that recorded directly to VHS tapes that were in black-and-white.
When sales representative Larry Oliver of Vision Southeast Inc., a Birmingham-based dealer-integrator, made a cold call on Jackson Hospital, he found a very receptive audience. The hospital was losing tools and equipment at an alarming rate.
As noted, there was no access control other than key-locked entries. A lot of the doors, especially employee entrances, were being left unlocked. The hospital immediately saw the need for access control along with video surveillance. Administrators understood that the medical center needed the ability to direct people into entry points so it could keep track of who was coming and going.

New Security Prevented Infant Abduction
Working with Vision Southeast, we ultimately upgraded the hospital’s entire security system, starting with the removal of the old video system and installation of a GE CCTV system, including digital video multiplexer recorders (DVMRs), new monitors and CyberDome cameras. Later, our integrator installed the GE Secure Perfect Windows™-based access control software and magnetic stripe card readers on several doors. Once the access control computer was installed, the existing database with all of the hospital’s 1,300 employees and doctors on it was easily imported into it.
Installation of the access control system and integration with the digital video system took about three weeks from start to finish. That included doing the software and hardware installation, pulling wire, importing the database and assigning access rights to all the clients.
Twenty internal doors are now secured with card readers controlled by the system, along with all hospital exits.
There’s a lot of flexibility to the system itself as far as programming. We can use an existing badge or create a new badge. We simply enter the information that we want to have programmed on the badge, and any other printed information that we want, including access rights. As a manager, I find that very helpful.
Jackson Hospital saved money by installing magnetic stripe card readers that let the hospital’s employees use their existing, legacy identification badges. In less secure areas, either a badge or PIN code opens the door. In higher security areas, such as in the nurseries or pharmacies, locks require both a unique four-digit PIN code and a badge swipe.
In the nursery and on the pediatric floors, individuals have to badge in and out for egress to and from these areas during the off-peak hours. During the day, we will have free egress, but at night, to keep unauthorized people out of those areas, we use a delayed egress magnetic locking system. Nurses are able to control admittance to those areas through a call system that we’ve installed.
Previously, the double doors inside the hospital did not have any access control. Now, magnetic stripe readers will also control these doors. We expect to expand the readers to the pharmacy and information systems labs as well.
Delayed egress magnetic locks have also been installed on all fire doors. In the event of an infant abduction or a disaster, we can instantly secure the hospital perimeters to prevent someone from leaving unnoticed.
Our access control system integrates smoothly with the digital video recorders. In alarm situations or unauthorized entry attempts, the video is tagged automatically and incidents are located instantly. We performed an infant abduction drill to test the new system after it was completely installed. As part of the drill, a woman attempted to abduct a newborn baby (using a doll instead) from the hospital’s nursery. She found a stairwell and got to the door, but it wouldn’t budge.
As she pushed on the door, alarms sounded. The woman decided to try a different door, and while searching for another exit she passed by several security checkpoints where cameras recorded her image. The attempted abduction was foiled and the system proved itself.

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