Just as physicians recommend that their patients obtain treatment early, before a condition worsens, so is Intermountain Healthcare addressing the issue of security early, before problems occur. In addition to providing excellent outcomes for its patients, Intermountain is stepping forward to raise the bar for security systems by providing ID cards that are tied to access control systems.

Threats of terrorism and bioterrorism brought a new dimension to health care in the United States following 9/11, encouraging many health care centers to enhance their security systems and prevent unauthorised movement throughout the facilities.

Healthcare security system

Health care workers still need freedom of access, especially in situations requiring urgency, when they have to move quickly to access medication, equipment and supplies. “When we put one more barrier in front of them, it becomes a huge dissatisfier,” said Mike Rawson, Director of Safety, Security and Environmental Health. “We want to provide ease of access but at the same time an increased level of security. It’s a balancing act.”

In the past, hospitals have always created an open and welcoming atmosphere,” he added. “As health care systems increase levels of security, they create additional inconvenience to patients, visitors and employees. In a system the size of Intermountain Healthcare, increased inconvenience can be a significant challenge to patient and employee relations.”

Intermountain Healthcare began with 15 hospitals donated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1975

Proximity access control

Intermountain Healthcare began with 15 hospitals donated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1975. It is an integrated system of physicians, health plans and 21 hospitals from Burley, Idaho, to St. George, Utah, with most of its facilities in the Salt Lake City area. It strives to be a model health care system – an example worthy of emulation by others – not only in clinical outcomes, but also in cost efficiencies and operations. Its access card program is part of that plan.

 “We added proximity access control in all hospitals in 2006,” said Rawson. “Before that, we used cards with a bar code for identification and payroll, along with a typical key system. Now we have proximity access control throughout the entire system, using a Kronos time and attendance system with DSX, Continental and C-CURE access control software.”

The single card now allows employees to enter authorised areas, records time and attendance, and provides visual identification for patients and visitors. Employees, licensed clinical practitioners, volunteers, students, vendors and even families of patients who experience an extended stay are issued cards with varying levels of access and security.

Fargo printers/encoders

With direct-to-card technology, the printhead comes in direct contact with the card, producing sharp facial images

We have used Fargo printers ever since we began printing cards,” said Rawson. “Fargo was recommended by our access control system providers.” Intermountain has 30 printers, most of which are DTC500 Direct-to-Card Printer Encoders. With direct-to-card technology, the printhead comes in direct contact with the card, producing sharp facial images and fine detail around areas such as the eyes, enhancing the ability to identify someone visually. “Some of our smaller, rural hospitals use Fargo’s smaller Persona C30 printers,” said Rawson, “as they may only make one or two cards a month.”

Rawson was responsible for selecting the printer, assisted by representatives from the Human Resources and Security departments, where the printers reside. He knew he wanted double-sided printing with a speed component suitable for a large interdisciplinary health system. He also knew the printer had to be reliable, but to anticipate any minor issues, he looked for a company with a service technician in the Salt Lake City area. Finally, he wanted high quality performance and clarity of the printed product.

Bob Barber of Interstate Business Products sold the printers to Intermountain. “Mike liked the simplicity of the DTC printers,” he said. “They are easy to clean and operate, and they run quietly.”

A bar code on the back of employee and physician cards enables them to use the access control system for time and attendance

Attendance and access solutions

In January 2006, Intermountain went through a rebranding, changing the spelling of its name and adopting a new logo. This required re-badging all 25,000 employees; 3,400 physicians on staff; 500 volunteers; 1,000 students (interns, residents and those on rotation); 300 vendors and others. “We accomplished all of this within five months,” said Rawson.

Employees, physicians and volunteers at Intermountain wear white horizontal badges that display their photo and name. There is one exception. Because of increased security surrounding the care of infants, clinical caregivers who transport infants wear bright pink cards to identify themselves easily from a distance. A bar code on the back of employee and physician cards enables them to use the access control system for time and attendance and to record attendance at in-service and training meetings.

Smart identification system

Students and instructors receive vertical badges with color-coded graphic designs that vary depending on the time of year. Vendors, visitors, contractors and temporary employees receive generic vertical badges without any bar code or Intermountain logo. As an added measure of security, vendor badges expire annually.

Intermountain currently is evaluating a 3D bar code for patient identification at some future point, according to Rawson. This system would include a wrist band for the patient, enabling both patient and clinician to be identified easily and securely, and for their activity to be documented. “We also continue to discuss the value of smart cards and will add that technology when the need presents itself,” he said.

Security identification equipment

Intermountain has made tremendous strides in consolidating its identification cards and access control system

In the meantime, Intermountain has made tremendous strides in consolidating its identification cards and access control system. “Clinicians with responsibilities and privileges at multiple hospitals drove the need for a single card,” said Rawson. “They didn’t want to carry half a dozen cards with them.” And how did Intermountain get physicians to wear their ID cards regularly? “We tied access control to the parking lots and dining rooms,” Rawson said. “By wearing the identification card, physicians can easily access parking areas, entrances, elevators and dining areas.”

With today’s printers,” he added, “we can make an attractive ID card that individuals are proud to wear. Most people understand the need to be adequately identified to the patients they serve.” Rawson admits that the real, quantifiable benefit will be down the road, when Intermountain recovers the upfront costs of the security system, but there is no question that the decision to use ID cards for increased security has been a healthy investment.

As Barber said, “You can’t do tomorrow’s business with yesterday’s equipment.”

Download PDF version

In case you missed it

What is the changing role of training in the security industry?
What is the changing role of training in the security industry?

Even the most advanced and sophisticated security systems are limited in their effectiveness by a factor that is common to all systems – the human factor. How effectively integrators install systems and how productively users interface with their systems both depend largely on how well individual people are trained. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the changing role of training in the security and video surveillance market?

What is AI Face Search? Benefits over facial recognition systems
What is AI Face Search? Benefits over facial recognition systems

When a child goes missing in a large, crowded mall, we have a panicking mom asking for help from the staff, at least a dozen cameras in the area, and assuming the child has gone missing for only 15 minutes, about 3 hours’ worth of video to look through to find the child. Typical security staff response would be to monitor the video wall while reviewing the footage and making a verbal announcement throughout the mall so the staff can keep an eye out for her. There is no telling how long it will take, while every second feels like hours under pressure. As more time passes, the possible areas where the child can be will widen, it becomes more time-consuming to search manually, and the likelihood of finding the child decreases. What if we can avoid all of that and directly search for that particular girl in less than 1 second? Artificial neural networks are improving every day and now enable us to search for a person across all selected camera streamsWith Artificial Intelligence, we can. Artificial neural networks are improving every day and now enable us to search for a person across all selected camera streams in a fraction of a second, using only one photo of that person. The photo does not even have to be a full frontal, passport-type mugshot; it can be a selfie image of the person at a party, as long as the face is there, the AI can find her and match her face with the hundreds or thousands of faces in the locations of interest. The search result is obtained in nearly real time as she passes by a certain camera. Distinguishing humans from animals and statues The AI system continuously analyses video streams from the surveillance cameras in its network, distinguishes human faces from non-human objects such as statues and animals, and much like a human brain, stores information about those faces in its memory, a mental image of the facial features so to speak. When we, the system user, upload an image of the person of interest to the AI system, the AI detects the face(s) in that image along with their particular features, search its memory for similar faces, and shows us where and when the person has appeared. We are in control of selecting the time period (up to days) and place (cameras) to search, and we can adjust the similarity level, i.e., how much a face matches the uploaded photo, to expand or fine-tune the search result according to our need. Furthermore, because the camera names and time stamps are available, the system can be linked with maps to track and predict the path of the person of interest. AI Face Search is not Face Recognition for two reasons: it protects people’s privacy, and it is lightweight Protecting people’s privacy with AI Face Search  All features of face recognition can be enabled by the system user, such as to notify staff members when a person of interest is approaching the store AI Face Search is not Face Recognition for two reasons: it protects people’s privacy, and it is lightweight. First, with AI Face Search, no names, ID, personal information, or lists of any type are required to be saved in the system. The uploaded image can be erased from the system after use, there is no face database, and all faces in the camera live view can be blurred out post-processing to guarantee GDPR compliance. Second, the lack of a required face database, a live view with frames drawn around the detected faces and constant face matching in the background also significantly reduces the amount of computing resource to process the video stream, hence the lightweight. Face Search versus Face Recognition AI Face Search Face Recognition Quick search for a particular person in video footage Identify everyone in video footage Match detected face(s) in video stream to target face(s) in an uploaded image Match detected face(s) in video stream to a database Do not store faces and names in a database Must have a database with ID info Automatically protect privacy for GDPR compliance in public places May require additional paperwork to comply with privacy regulations Lightweight solution Complex solution for large-scale deployment Main use: locate persons of interest in a large area Main use: identify a person who passes through a checkpoint Of course, all features of face recognition can be enabled by the system user if necessary, such as to notify staff members when a person of interest is approaching the store, but the flexibility to not have such features and to use the search tool as a simple Google-like device particularly for people and images is the advantage of AI Face Search.Because Face Search is not based on face recognition, no faces and name identifications are stored Advantages of AI Face Search Artificial Intelligence has advanced so far in the past few years that its facial understanding capability is equivalent to that of a human. The AI will recognise the person of interest whether he has glasses, wears a hat, is drinking water, or is at an angle away from the camera. In summary, the advantages of Face Search: High efficiency: a target person can be located within a few seconds, which enables fast response time. High performance: high accuracy in a large database and stable performance, much like Google search for text-based queries. Easy setup and usage: AI appliance with the built-in face search engine can be customised to integrate to any existing NVR/VMS/camera system or as a standalone unit depending on the customer’s needs. The simple-to-use interface requires minimal training and no special programming skills. High-cost saving: the time saving and ease of use translate to orders of magnitude less manual effort than traditionally required, which means money saving. Scalability: AI can scale much faster and at a wider scope than human effort. AI performance simply relies on computing resource, and each Face Search appliance typically comes with the optimal hardware for any system size depending on the customer need, which can go up to thousands of cameras. Privacy: AI Face Search is not face recognition. For face recognition, there are privacy laws that limits the usage. Because Face Search is not based on face recognition, no faces and name identifications are stored, so Face Search can be used in many public environments to identify faces against past and real-time video recordings. AI Face Search match detected face(s) in video stream to target face(s) in an uploaded image Common use cases of AI Face Search In addition to the scenario of missing child in a shopping mall, other common use cases for the AI Face Search technology include: Retail management: Search, detect and locate VIP guests in hotels, shopping centres, resorts, etc. to promptly attend to their needs, track their behaviour pattern, and predict locations that they tend to visit. Crime suspect: Quickly search for and prove/disprove the presence of suspects (thief, robber, terrorist, etc.) in an incident at certain locations and time. School campus protection: With the recent increase in number of mass shootings in school campuses, there is a need to identify, locate and stop a weapon carrier on campus as soon as possible before he can start shooting. Face Search will enable the authorities to locate the suspect and trace his movements within seconds using multiple camera feeds from different areas on campus. Only one clear image of the suspect’s face is sufficient. In the race of technology development in response to business needs and security concerns, AI Face Search is a simple, lightweight solution for airports, shopping centres, schools, resorts, etc. to increase our efficiency, minimise manual effort in searching for people when incidents occur on site, and actively prevent potential incidents from occurring. By Paul Sun, CEO of IronYun, and Mai Truong, Marketing Manager of IronYun

What technology will impact security most in the rest of 2018?
What technology will impact security most in the rest of 2018?

Where does the time go? Before you know it, here we are at mid-year reflecting on an eventful first half of 2018 in the physical security market. It’s also a good time for our Expert Panel Roundtable to pause and look ahead at what we might expect in the second half of the year. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What technology development will have the greatest impact in the second half of 2018?