University Health Care provides health, safety and security for patients
Oct 1, 2000 12:00 PM
ACCESS CONTROL & SECURITY SYSTEMS INTEGRATION STAFF
University Health Care was founded in a two-story wooden building in the heart of Augusta, Ga., in 1818 and has grown to become a healthcare company that treats thousands of patients each year. The cornerstone of University Health Care System is University Hospital, a 612-bed hospital that offers services at every level - from outpatient diagnostic testing and a full range of inpatient services to rehabilitation and home health care.
Another 100,000 patients count on University for emergency care, including visits to three prompt-care centers and two occupational health centers. Nearly 20,000 patients are admitted to University Hospital each year, and another 10,000 are observed in the 23-hour Outpatient Stay Unit. University Health Care System is committed to keeping patient care its primary focus, a philosophy that extends to the safety and security as well as patients' health.
Security professionals deal routinely with problems such as stolen cars, employee attacks and vandalism but many security managers don't have to worry about babies missing from the maternity ward. Not so at University Health Care. More than 2,500 babies each year take their first breath at the facility Women's Center.
"The last thing you want is an incident in the maternity ward," says Johnny Melles, directory of safety and security for University Health Services. "That is the one place you want to have more than enough security."
In fact, Melles now has cameras constantly monitoring every entrance and exit to the hospital's maternity area. "Nothing comes or goes through that ward without us knowing about it," he says.
It wasn't always that way. Only recently did University install a state of the art security system to upgrade its previous security measures. In an industry that seems to be in a constant state of technological evolution, companies often find that what was once considered top-of-the-line security becomes old news quickly.
When Melles found his facility in that situation, he sent out a comprehensive security system Request For Proposal (RFP). He contacted Tech Systems Inc., an Atlanta-based systems integrator, to install and service the security system.
Tech Systems is a member of the PSA Security Network and its Advanced Technology Group (ATG). With sales of more than $800 million and more than 195 offices worldwide, PSA is the nation's largest professional network of security integrators. PSA's ATG program provides for a single point of contact for applications that require systems for multiple locations across the country or around the world.
Andy Farmer, an associate at Tech Systems, says, "We were able to take the existing system at University Health Services and integrate it into a PC-based system that allowed them to meet their current needs as well as any future needs. The panic buttons are now linked to the CCTV system, allowing security personnel to monitor more areas than before. The hospital now has the backbone for a multitude of security provisions should the need arise."
The new equipment, produced by Kalatel, Gyyr and IDenticard, allows Melles and his staff to record continuously. Vulnerable spots in the facility are monitored 24 hours-a-day. In addition, the new camera system does more than just "watch"; it reacts. When the camera senses motion, it alerts the appropriate individual.
"Our new cameras are in color and are recording 24-hours-a-day," Melles says. "By listening to our needs on the front end, the staff at Tech Systems was able to do more than just sell us a security system, they were able to educate us on what we really needed."
The original job, completed in August 1999, consisted of a closed circuit surveillance and panic alarm system. Since then, an extra parking deck with nine additional pan/ tilt/zoom cameras and several panic alarms has been added to the system. Since the installation of the parking deck cameras, University was able to record a car theft and to reduce the amount of loitering. In return the system has given the employees of University Health Services a higher sense of safety while at work.
University Health Services is constantly adding to its security management system. With the new installation, University now has the option of replacing its aging access control system and integrating the new system with the new closed circuit surveillance and panic alarm system. The result would allow one completely integrated security management system.
In addition to allowing Tech Systems to install its new system, University Health Services opted for the extensive Focus Plus Services, provided by the Atlanta systems integrator. It consists of 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week unconditional support. If there is any problem with a system, Tech Systems guarantees response in less than eight hours. Additionally, Tech Systems provides quarterly on-site preventive maintenance inspections and unlimited operator/system training.