Rx: Video Integration
As the largest healthcare corporation in the Central Valley of California, Community Medical Centers includes Community Regional Medical Center, Community Medical Center-Clovis, Fresno Heart Hospital and University Medical Center. With 9,000 personnel on campus and over 1,000 patients and visitors on a daily basis, much is demanded of the security department.
“With the exception of a rape or homicide, we’ve seen every crime imaginable happen on our campus,” said Joe Martin, lieutenant of security services at Community Medical Centers. “As a facility open to the public, we receive the full spectrum of society that goes along with that. We’ve had problems with gang activity, theft, assault, you name it. Our job is to come up with the best methods for prevention and response to any possible incident.”
Central monitoringA state-of-the-art 911 center forms the heart of medical centers’ security operations. From this center, two staff personnel provide 24-hour monitoring of the system, making use of a bank of 24 screens to monitor the 205 cameras located throughout the campus. The system also boasts over 2,100 additional inputs, covering areas such as access control, door jams and alarm outputs. Three years ago, the center undertook the process of selecting a new digital video recorder that would integrate into the existing system.
“We initially had real problems finding a product that would integrate with the system to the levels we wanted,” said Rod Blackman, applications administrator for the center’s security department. “Multiple vendors advertised that their interfaces would control our PTZ cameras. We’d get them in and they simply were not functional on that level. In the end, only the Integral DVRs (Integral Technologies, Indianapolis) provided PTZ control adequate for our needs.”
The center purchased 17 Integral DVXi units and installed them throughout its campuses. In addition to the PTZ control, the security department quickly discovered other immediate benefits from the new hardware.
“The DVXi is not limited to exporting video in Integral’s standard format,” said Blackman. “We can port out video in an AVI format, which is something we’d had real trouble with. The data compression capabilities of the units proved highly beneficial as well, making it much easier to store and transfer video as needed.”
Integrator Ortega Infosystems developed software to take advantage of the DVXi’s versatility and integrated digital video with the system’s existing access control products provided by Seecure. The combination provided increased functionalities perfectly suited to the facility’s myriad demands.
For starters, the security department has setup pre-defined alarm events through the access control side of its system. When one of these events occurs, the system automatically exports pre- and post- event recordings from the relevant cameras, as well as instantly notifies an operator in the 911 center. Community Medical Centers has experienced the advantages of this capability in a variety of situations.
Infant care“Nationwide, infant abduction has become a very serious issue,” said Blackman. “Our system generates an alarm event whenever someone approaches an infant care area without the proper card access. Integral’s DVXi automatically pulls video beginning five seconds before the alarm was triggered, allowing the staff in our 911 center to immediately assess the situation.”
Effects of the advanced integration can be witnessed in the everyday functions of Community Medical Centers’ security operations. Emergency call stations located throughout the campus take advantage of the increased functionality. When a call button at one of these stations is pressed, all cameras covering the area immediately move to the location, which instantly appears onscreen in the 911 center. Additionally, a speaker at the station automatically establishes a link of communication with one of the personnel monitoring the cameras. This level of instant response has improved the performance of the security department as a whole.
“In the past, our average response times have reached nearly as high as seven minutes,” said Blackman. “With the integrated system, we’re averaging between two and three minutes. When an incident occurs, every tool at our disposal is now immediately focused on it. Integration allows us to do that.”
In addition to decreasing response times, systems integration has led to a safer work environment for Community Medical Centers’ security officers.
Quicker response“When an alarm is triggered, it’s the job of our personnel to get there as quickly as possible,” explained Martin. “Before the systems were integrated, they would often be rushing into a situation before we had video coverage of what was going on. With access control and video working together, the operators in our 911 center have instant coverage of what triggered the alarm and our guys are approaching the situation informed of what they’re facing. It’s led to a much safer and more effective work environment for them.”
The staff at Community Medical Centers is not the only ones impressed with the security system’s capabilities. Word of mouth has led to healthcare organizations throughout North America contacting the facility for firsthand advice and even to request site visits. The local police department has even requested assistance from time to time.
“The police have seen our capabilities and will on occasion ask for assistance in monitoring areas peripheral to our actual campus,” said Martin. “Through this, we’ve helped them with several problems, ranging from auto burglary to drug dealing to a car jacking we happened to catch on video.”
The demands on the security department at Community Medical Centers continue to grow. Plans call for the expansion of Community Regional Medical Center to a 58-acre campus and two patient towers to be added to Community Medical Center-Clovis. This growth will be met through the addition of more units from Integral. Through its highly integrated system, Community Medical Centers will continue to maximize the safety of its employees, patients, visitors and property for years to come.