Rush University Medical Center

Case Study

Rush University Medical Center

Seven years ago, Rush University Medical Center embarked on an overhaul of its security systems to deploy a truly future-proofed integrated access control and video system using C•CURE from Software House and the victor integrated video management solution from American Dynamics as its foundation.

Rush University Medical Center in Chicago is home to one of the first medical colleges in the Midwest and one of the nation's top-ranked nursing colleges. It provides 676 patient beds and employs more than 8,000 people. In 2013, U.S. News and World Report listed Rush University Medical Center as one of America's Best Hospitals, a distinction given to recognize the hospital for its high-level of medical care in 9 of 16 specialty categories.

While Rush University Medical Center is considered tops in the field of medicine, like many other hospitals, it still faces everyday security challenges to ensure it keeps its employees and patients safe.

The Challenge
The hospital's downtown campus spans four city blocks and encompasses 20 buildings, presenting some unique challenges for security personnel. At the same time, the security department recognizes that its work plays a pivotal role relating to the hospital's reputation as a leading and safe medical facility, as well as maintaining an open environment for patients and visitors.

Recognizing the important function security plays in the hospital environment, Lauris Freidenfelds, Director, Security Services & Emergency Management for Rush University Medical Center, began implementing several significant changes to the hospital's security system when he came onboard. On his agenda was replacing the hospital's obsolete access control system, as replacement parts for the system were becoming scarce and the manufacturer was beginning to phase out support. Freidenfelds and his team determined the hospital needed to invest in a new access control system that would stand the test of time and invest in other security technology upgrades over the span of several years, including a new video management system, and a duress and emergency notification system.

The Solution
As part of the first phase of its upgrade, Rush University Medical Center turned to Software House C•CURE solutions from Tyco Security Products as the foundation for its enterprise access control system. But Freidenfelds had some tough questions for the manufacturer.

"I remember, even then, being adamant of clear migration strategies and smooth transitions to new technology," he recalled. "Software House and its C•CURE 9000 solution had a great reputation, but I wanted a sense of assurance from them that what I bought that day wouldn't be a wasted investment."

Convinced by the solid technology roadmap, Rush University Medical Center began the migration of its access control system to the powerful C•CURE 9000 security and event management system. The scalable system enabled the hospital to "grow from the inside out," according to Freidenfelds, by allowing the security department to initially focus on specific departments and areas of the hospital that required access control, such as the pharmacy, Labor & Delivery, and the IT department. Over time, other departments and buildings have been added to the enterprise access control system.

With C•CURE 9000 as the foundation for its access control needs, Rush University Medical Center began to incorporate other areas of the hospital into its overall, comprehensive security plan. That includes storage areas, food service areas, and adding employee access points at several entrances along the perimeter of the building. Previously, employees at night had a single access point into the building, which could require an employee to walk several city blocks late at night from the bus stop to the only approved access point in the facility.

One significant addition to the C•CURE 9000 system was the East Tower, a new 14-floor, 846,000 square-foot facility. When this building opened in 2012, it marked the hospital's complete campus-wide migration to C•CURE 9000 and the benefits presented by this access control management system for the entire hospital.

The East Tower also marked the introduction of the victor unified video management system from American Dynamics at Rush University Medical Center. "We've got a lot of video here, with more than 1,500 cameras campus-wide, so this gave us the opportunity to manage our video more effectively," said Freidenfelds.

With addition of the victor integrated video management system, the hospital has better control of its video surveillance and is able to easily locate video to identify criminal activity. For example, the system has been used in the hospital's gift shop to identify theft issues and also provided the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the ability to review surveillance footage of an incident that took place on the hospital's campus.

"Previously, it was difficult to locate the appropriate video," said Freidenfelds. "The victor capabilities and management program gave us the ability to quickly identify the right camera, look at the video clip, and save the video clip within a short period of time."

Part of Rush University Medical Center's overall security plan involved replacing keys once used to access linen closets and employee lockers with a card reader-based access control system. The benefit, according to Freidenfelds, is the hospital can easily manage, monitor and restrict access to specific areas instead of relying upon a physical key to get the job done.

Freidenfelds' goal was to condition employees to use their access control credentials on a daily and regular basis. The challenge of a hospital's open environment, he said, is balancing the access to the public with restricted space such as patient care areas, sensitive areas, and the back of the house.

"Right now we have about 5,000 people using badging solutions every day," said Freidenfelds. "The philosophy is if you have to use your badge to get to where you work, you will have it with you more often."

With the integration between C•CURE 9000 and victor, and tying in the existing intrusion detection system, hospital security officers can first evaluate an incident using video and then physically respond, if necessary. Called "exception based viewing" it enables the security officers to focus on an actual activity or event instead of being tied up reviewing inactive video, such as that of an empty stairwell.

The hospital's security guards can immediately and remotely review a door going into alarm mode because the associated video will come up on a monitor at the hospital's Command Center.

"Instead of doing a patrol, we can now proactively send a security officer over there to resolve a situation," said Freidenfelds. "Our security becomes more task-oriented and focused vs. just patrolling."

Systems integrator Advent Systems, Inc. in Chicago, worked closely with Rush University Medical Center to help it integrate its first and second phase integration of the C•CURE 9000 access control platform with its video management system.

"It was a logical move to integrate access control with video," said John Skwirblies, Sr. Account Executive, for Advent Systems, Inc. "Now the hospital can have a camera associated with a card reader on the C•CURE 9000 monitoring screen and they don't have to close it out and go to another monitor to view what is happening on the video side."

In addition, Rush University Medical Center security guards can use the surveillance system for virtual tours of hallways to make sure they are clear of materials and trash to maintain compliance with fire codes, instead of sending a security guard to physically walk the hall.

When the hospital opened its new Family Birth Center in early 2014, it included a new interface between C•CURE 9000 and the Accutech Infant Protection System. Now, when a nurse brings a baby from one unit within the hospital to another for tests, the nurse uses a single access control badge to open a door while the baby continues to wear its same tag. Previously, the system only covered the Labor & Delivery and NICU units, so if an infant needed to go to another part of the hospital, hospital staff had to change the infant protection tag.

Perhaps one of the most significant changes at Rush University Medical Center was the introduction of a lock-down feature to provide greater security in emergency situations, such as if a gunman is reported near the hospital. Previously hospital security officers had to manually lock down each perimeter door. Now, with C•CURE 9000, the system offers a single emergency button and, with one push, security personnel can lock many doors at one time.

"They've taken it a step beyond what we've normally seen," said Skwirblies from Advent Systems, Inc, about the lock-down mode. "By hitting a button to lock perimeter doors they can catch the individual and provide greater security at the facility. We're seeing more of that response by hospitals to these types of situations."

The Future
While Rush University Medical Center has initiated and completed several major security projects in recent years, it continues to improve its security technology.

In the summer of 2014, the hospital plans to implement the Lynx duress and emergency notification system. The system would enable Rush University Medical Center to send notifications to employees in the event of a major accident that requires more medical professionals to report for work or to send out weather notifications in the event of a snow storm. Hospital employees can also use the system to alert the appropriate authorities in the event of an incident.

"Everything we have done to improve the security at Rush University Medical Center has been with an eye towards deploying a single, enterprise-based and future-proof security management system," said Freidenfelds.

The Customer - Rush University Medical Center
Rush University Medical Center is an academic health center that encompasses a hospital for adults and children with more than 613 staffed beds (including Rush Children's Hospital), the 61-bed Johnston R. Bowman Health Center for older adult and rehabilitative care and Rush University. It also operates Rush Oak Park Hospital.

Rush's mission is to provide the best possible care for its patients. Educating tomorrow's health care professional, researching new and more advanced treatment options, transforming its facilities and investing in new technologies - all are undertaken with the drive to improve patient care now, and for the future.

The Solutions Provider - Tyco Security Products
Tyco Security Products and its leading brands conducts business in over 177 countries around the world, in multiple languages and employs over 2,800 employees globally, including research and development, marketing, manufacturing, sales, service and logistics teams in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific. Our products, built by developers from all product disciplines, consistently allow customers to see more, do more, and save more across multiple industries and segments including healthcare, government, transportation, finance, retail, commercial and residential. Worldwide, Tyco Security Products helps protect 42% of Fortune 500 companies, transportation systems on five continents, 37% of the world's top 100 retailers, over two million commercial enterprises, thousands of students in more than 900 educational facilities, and over five million private residences.

The Integrator - Advent Systems, Inc.
Advent Systems is a leading systems integrator that goes beyond the ordinary to ensure that each client receives individual attention and the best technical solution possible. Formed more than 25 years ago, Advent Systems specializes in managing complex projects and creating large, integrated electronic systems. The company offers clients a full range of products and services, including security systems, closed circuit television, network cabling, audio/visual, noise masking, and sound/paging systems.

Case Summary


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