The healthcare market is rife with opportunity for security systems integrators. Hospitals have a continuous need for security, to update their systems, to make repairs, says David Alessandrini, Vice President, Pasek Corp., a systems integrator. “It’s cyclical. Funding for large projects might span one to two years, and then they go into a maintenance mode. Departments are changing constantly, and they need us to maintain the equipment to make sure it’s operating to its full potential.” The experience of Pasek Corp. is typical of the opportunities available for security integrator companies in the healthcare vertical. A single large hospital system can supply a dependable ongoing source of revenue to integrator companies, says Alessandrini. Hospitals are “usually large enough to provide enough work for several people for an extended length of time.” Healthcare customers in Pasek’s service area around Boston provide the potential for plenty of work. “We have four major hospitals, each with in excess of 250 card readers and 200 cameras, in the Boston area,” Alessandrini says. One appeal of the healthcare market for North Carolina Sound, an integrator covering central North Carolina, is the breadth of possible equipment they can sell into the healthcare market, including access control and video, of course, but also other technologies, such as audio-video systems in a dining room. North Carolina Sound has also installed sound masking in some areas with waiting rooms to protect private patient information from being overheard. Locking systems on pharmaceutical doors are another opportunity. Data capture form to appear here! IP based networked video systems A facility’s IT folks must be convinced an IP solution will function seamlessly on their network Among North Carolina Sound’s customers is Wayne Memorial Hospital, Goldsboro, N.C., which uses about 340 video cameras, with 80 percent or more of them converted to IP. The hospital is replacing analogue with IP cameras as budget allows, building network infrastructure to support the system. The healthcare market tends to have a long sales cycle; in general, sales don’t happen overnight or even within a month or two. In fact, the period between an initial meeting with a healthcare facility and installation of a system could stretch to a year or longer. A lot happens during that time. Healthcare systems involve extensive planning, engineering, and meetings among various departments. Physical security systems that involve the information technology (IT) department, as do most systems today, can be especially complex. Installation of networked video systems based on Internet protocol (IP) requires deep and probing discussions with the IT team about how a system fits into the facility’s network infrastructure. A facility’s IT folks must be convinced an IP solution will function seamlessly on their network. Compatible with the network They must vet the technology to ensure the devices and solutions will be compatible with the network, and must sign off on technology choices. And even more important is determining if the security system will adhere to cyber security requirements of the facility. A complete solution that integrates nearly any system that lives on or uses a facility’s network is ultimately what the healthcare vertical is moving toward, says Jason Ouellette, General Manager – Enterprise Access Control & Video, Johnson Controls. Healthcare security professionals are early adopters of technology, implementing the best technology available” “We are hearing more and more from customers across industries that they want to be able to use their security systems and devices for more than just security: they want added value,” says Ouellette. Many want to use access control, video surveillance and other data sources to assess their business operations and/or workflows with the goal of improving efficiency. Upgrade cost-effectively Historically, three factors have prevented many organisations from moving forward with new technologies: lack of money, proprietary systems, and the need to “rip and replace” large parts of the installed systems, says Robert Laughlin, CEO and Chairman, Galaxy Control Systems. "Today, while funding is almost always a limiting factor at some level, the progression of industry standards and ‘open’ systems has made a big positive impact on the ability of organisations to upgrade cost-effectively,” he says. Despite any obstacles, healthcare customers generally welcome new innovations. “I would say healthcare security professionals in general are early adopters of technology and like to implement the best technology available,” says Jim Stankevich, Global Manager – Healthcare Security, Johnson Controls/Tyco Security Products. “For most, rapid implementation is limited by budgets and available funding." Read parts one and three of our heathcare mini series here and here.
Part 1 of our Security in Healthcare series Hospitals have a continuous need for security, to update their systems,and to make repairs The healthcare vertical provides plenty of opportunities for security integrator companies. A single large hospital system can supply a dependable ongoing source of revenue to integrator companies, says David Alessandrini, Vice President, Pasek Corp., an integrator. Hospitals have a continuous need for security, to update their systems, to make repairs, he says. “It’s cyclical. Funding for large projects might span one to two years, and then they go into a maintenance mode. Departments are changing constantly, and they need us to maintain the equipment to make sure it’s operating to its full potential.” Hospitals are “usually large enough to provide enough work for several people for an extended length of time.” Healthcare customers in Pasek’s service area around Boston provide the potential for plenty of work. “We have four major hospitals, each with in excess of 250 card readers and 200 cameras, in the Boston area,” Alessandrini says. Pasek Corp. began as a lock company in 1876, and evolved a century later into an integrator of alarm systems, access control, video and integrated systems. With about 80 employees in all, Pasek has about 35 service vehicles on the road and 18 or so electronic service technicians. Mitigating installation challenges with technology Technology now allows integrators in the healthcare vertical to work on access systems remotely. The ability to spend fewer resources and less on overtime created a return on investment Installations in hospitals have their challenges, Alessandrini says. All the installation work has to happen inside a containment booth, and kept away from patient areas. “Wiring a unit takes about 40 percent more labour,” he says. Technology now allows integrators in the healthcare vertical to work on access systems remotely, says Sam Auciello, Business Development, Pasek Corp. “The technology allows us to work smarter rather than harder,” says Auciello. “We don’t have to send an officer off site to check on a door, we can stay on the main campus.” The ability to spend fewer resources and less on overtime created a return on investment (ROI). Active shooter training Other trends in healthcare security include the need to create systems to respond in case of an active shooter. Hospitals require active shooter training and exercises, and must develop policies and procedures to best handle the situation. “Do you fight the person or take off or shelter in place?” asks Auciello. Formerly a chief of detectives with the Manchester, N.H., Police Department, Auciello later worked as security manager for the Gillette company and then as Director of Security for Elliot Health System, a healthcare services company that includes a 275-bed hospital, and 21 other locations with 4,000 employees providing urgent care, general medical practice and specialty offices. When Auciello came to Eliott Hospital (in 2007), there were only six cameras. He created a five-year transition plan to update the systems. When he left eight years later, there were 260 all-IP cameras and 400 access control readers (using an AMAG system installed by Pasek). He now works with Pasek, Eliott Hospital’s integrator. Psychiatric wards, geriatric wards, and areas that house opioids and other drugs require extra security in hospitals Securing vulnerable areas Pasek sees other trends in the healthcare vertical, too. Covert cameras can be used where there is a high incidence of theft. Cameras also view various lobby and office areas. The card access system restricts entry into areas that house medical records. Areas that require extra security in hospitals include psychiatric wards, geriatric wards, and areas that house opioids and other drugs, says Auciello. A WanderGuard system from Stanley can keep patients in specific areas; the technology is like a global positioning system (GPS). Patients can be tracked throughout a facility, and WanderGuard integrates with access control systems. Entry points can be monitored by CCTV. Special anti-ligature hardware is required for doors in hospitals. Over-the-door switches can be installed in psychiatric units to alert behavioural healthcare staff in the event a patient tries to hang himself. Protecting assets Keeping up with assets in a hospital is another important function – and security can help. Assets are tagged with various bar codes or RFID systems, and they can interface with the access control system. Use of facial recognition and iris scanning biometrics in medical environments can avoid the need to touch sterile or infectious services; also, users can wear gloves without having to remove them as they would to use a fingerprint reader. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organisations (JCAHO) addresses areas of security such as control of visitors, access into secure areas, access to operating rooms, and sterile conditions. While Auciello was at Elliot Hospital, the JCAHO recommended installation of a secure maternity unit, given that the hospital delivers 2,500 babies a year. Read Part 2 of our Security in Healthcare series here