Blue Cross/ Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) has played a significant role in both the health and economy of the state of Rhode Island since 1939. More than one out of two Rhode Islanders have chosen BCBSRI.

BCBSRI mission

The organisation’s mission is to provide its members with peace of mind and improved health by representing them in their pursuit of affordable, high-quality healthcare.

BCBSRI needed to upgrade its workplace to a more efficient, secure, effective and sustainable environment. An in-depth analysis compared the feasibility of renovating several older buildings to constructing a new building.

A benefit for the new building was the opportunity to install a completely new state-of-the-art system to dramatically increase security. Having a secure work environment is a major issue for a health insurance company in meeting HIPAA requirements, and can involve access control, visitor management and video surveillance.

Updating security systems

BCBSRI used Barium Ferrite technology for security in its old buildings. This older technology is based on sandwiching a flexible magnetised material between two PVC layers and encoding spots on a polarised magnetic field, which is then electrically injected into the barium ferrite. These magnetically encoded areas activate sensors when a card is inserted into the reader.

While Barium Ferrite is cost effective, the technology is highly susceptible to duplication and the cards themselves have a short shelf life. Therefore, this security technology was not a consideration for BCBSRI’s access control system in the new headquarters.

Another goal in this transition was to create
an environmentally friendly and sustainable workplace

Ecofriendly Multi-function solution

To meet both HIPAA requirements and to create a streamlined work environment, the company was looking for a multi-function, high-security and user-friendly solution. Erecting an entirely new structure made for a seamless upgrade to state-of-the-art security technology that integrated easily with other cutting-edge systems in the new building.

Another goal in this transition was to create an environmentally friendly and sustainable workplace. One aspect of this was to install multi-function printers (MFPs), something BCBSRI had been considering for some time. It was critical to have a security system that enabled the move to MFPs.

The company also wanted a one-card solution that allowed them to do more than open the door. They wanted the same card to be enabled for use with services such as cashless vending in the cafeteria, as well as for access control in the company gym and parking structures. In addition, BCBSRI wanted an elevated level of security in restricted areas, so a system enabling biometrics was also desirable.

Multi-application solution with HID

The security systems integrator, Team AVS, had been working with BCBSRI for 10 years, so it was a natural decision for them to install the new building’s security system and make recommendations for complementary technology. Eric Caruso, business development manager, and his team presented an HID Global portfolio as the core of the access-control solution.

“We’ve been an HID Global partner for more than 15 years, so we know we can count on them,” said Eric Caruso. “Not only are the products reliable and come with a lifetime warranty, we also know that the local support our clients get reflects well on us.”

With Genuine HID, customers also get the most-trusted, fully interoperable, secure identity solutions on the market

Secure investment for the future

Team AVS recommended Genuine HID products – iCLASS R40 readers and iCLASS smart cards – for their customisation and flexibility that enables them to work with the multiple applications required by BCBSRI.

With Genuine HID, customers also get the most-trusted, fully interoperable, secure identity solutions on the market, the industry’s first lifetime warranty, and the strongest delivery and response platform available. This ensures optimisation of the company’s security investment for years to come.

Team AVS also recommended using HID Identity on Demand (IoD) services to produce the new badges, thus simplifying the re-badging project and reducing the strain on company resources during the move.

Smart card-enabled MFPs

In moving to the new building, BCBSRI downsized from 600 units for printing, faxing and copying to 100 MFPs. In doing so, they saved paper and ink, reduced their carbon production by using fewer devices, and increased document security utilising “secure print.”

In the past, BCBSRI managed document security by having locally dedicated desktop printers, accessible only by staff near to the printer. Since the new MFPs were centrally located among groups of employees, multi-function, secure-access cards provided the security, and at a much higher level. Now, when an employee sends a job to print, it sits in the cloud until they arrive at the printer, scan their HID multipurpose smart card, and request their specific job to output.

Smart integration application

“If we didn’t have the HID cards, we couldn’t have had the multifunction devices,” said Tom Bovis, assistant vice president, Corporate Real Estate/ Administrative Services. “The easy integration of iCLASS made the company more green.”

BCBSRI completed full analysis of potential vendors and selected Konica/ Minolta Business Solutions to provide the MFPs. Since Konica/Minolta is an official HID Connect partner and an integrator of Genuine HID Technology, Team AVS could be ensured that everything would work together seamlessly.

Migrating employees to
the new smart cards was easily accomplished in
the move process

One-card solution

In the old buildings, BCBSRI employees had a separate card for the cashless vending system – Freedom Pay. The company was pleased with their service and preferred to keep them. Freedom Pay is an HID Connect Premier Partner and integrates Genuine HID Technology. This made the transition simple and successful. Now employees carry only one card for secure access and cashless vending. That same card also works for parking, gym membership and, as mentioned above, printing, copying and faxing using the MFPs.

As required by HIPAA, the cards also display the employee’s photo. For those needing access to restricted areas, including the data center and cash processing, their cards also contain biometrics. Following the card swipe, these employees also enter a PIN to gain access to the most secure areas.

“People are happy with the system,” says Bovis. “They’re impressed with how easy it is to use while still providing state-of-the-art security.”

Ease of migration to new system

Migrating employees to the new smart cards was easily accomplished in the move process since BCBSRI used HID Identity on Demand services (IoD). Although BCBSRI had its own badge printer that would work with iCLASS, to print a large quantity of cards all at once would be a strain on staff and equipment.

Instead, a dedicated IoD project-management team gathered the necessary information and handled card production, leaving BCBSRI security staff free to focus on other issues.

IoD was able to use the photos and information in BCBSRI’s existing database for the new cards, saving significant time and resources for the company. IoD’s graphics team created custom card designs for various populations, such as employees and contractors.

All multi-function, photo-ID, iCLASS smart cards were printed and delivered in
the time frame requested

Timely transition

All 1,200 multi-function, photo-ID, iCLASS smart cards were printed and delivered in the time frame requested, in advance of the move. Every other weekend, 250 employees moved from the old buildings to the new. The department head simply picked up their employees’ badges and handed them out prior to moving day.

When the cards first arrived, Bovis and a colleague, Jim Keay, tested the cards with all the applications. “The iCLASS cards worked great,” said Bovis. “We didn’t experience any bugs or glitches.”

Enhanced security with reduced output devices

Enhanced security was just one component in the decision to build a new headquarters for BCBSRI. However, in a regulated industry that deals constantly in confidential, personal information, it was an important one. By choosing Genuine HID, BCBSRI has a trusted, reliable system that meets their needs today and is scalable for future growth and technology advancement.

“The decision to go with HID was easy,” says Bovis. The result is a more secure physical environment, safer document handling, a one-card solution for all access and cashless vending needs, and a more environmentally friendly workplace with an 80 percent reduction in output devices.

By rebuilding rather than renovating, the company will also save $25 million over the next 23 years. The new BCBSRI headquarters will also be the first Gold LEED-certified commercial building in Providence.

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