“We had to get buy in from IT – marking a different way of doing business,” said John McDonald.

Security Magazine profiles John McDonald, director of security at Northside Hospital, with facilities in Atlanta.

Security Magazine: Describe Northside Hospital: overall, as well as your background.

McDonald: My business mission is to secure a 455-bed community-based hospital with a primary focus on Women’s Services by a combination of officers, policies, procedures and technologies. With more than 1,700 physicians serving more than 300,000 patients annually, Northside Hospital provides medical services on multiple campuses in North Metro Atlanta. It ranks first in the nation among community hospitals in the number of babies delivered annually. I have been in the healthcare industry for 20 years, 16 in service to Northside Hospital.

Security Magazine: What is a key to your business success when integrating security technologies into your business?

McDonald: In that time we have partnered exclusively with one systems integrator (Securitas Security Systems, Norcross, Ga.). The benefits and upside of this decision continue to pay dividends to this day.

Security Magazine: Describe the challenges and goals your team faced when deciding on an upgrade.

McDonald: The biggest challenge or decision we were faced with had to do with existing wiring. Do we use what we have and limit the cost or do we completely rewire our campus? We decided to go with new wiring based on Project Engineer Glenn Vickery’s recommendations. Glenn also explained the value engineered benefits of a new access control and integrated security system.

Security Magazine: Describe who else within your organization worked with you and your systems integrator and the existing infrastructure you are using.

McDonald: We had to get buy in from our IT department. It marked a different way of doing business for us at the time. We were crossing into and sharing IT infrastructure for the first time. Due to the quality of the product proposed and flawless execution by my systems integrator, it was and has been a positive experience. Other than that, we worked with facility services to pull cable.

Security Magazine: Describe the business benefits of the new installation.

McDonald: Our primary interface is with the Hugs Infant Protection System. The system design integrates access control, security video and infant protection. We are the largest birthing hospital in the country and our integrated infant protection system has to be flawless. Flawless execution is often sold and rarely executed; we have the best of both.

Security Magazine: Describe what you feel are the benefits to your customers.

McDonald: My customers are primarily internal. The benefits were evident immediately in that we increased processing speed via the new system. Its reliability has virtually eliminated errors and non-performance issues.

Security Magazine: What’s in the future?

McDonald: We will see an expansion of the facility in terms of satellite campuses and would like to control multiple campuses from a central location. I believe we are right on track.

Northside Hospital’s John McDonald worked with its systems integrator to upgrade its Hugs Infant Protection System to cover doors and elevators using Lenel panels and special readers covering the Women’s Center.

SIDEBAR: Successful Strategy: An Integrated Upgrade

Serving his business, John McDonald, director of security at Northside Hospital, worked with his long-time systems integrator to bring in a Lenel Access Control System that interfaces to Northside’s unique Hugs Infant Protection System by delivering access, security video and infant protection. Started in 2002, among Hugs key features are active monitoring and cut band technology. According to integrator Securitas Security System’s Brent Anderson, “We seek to understand their needs and business from their point of view, not ours. The end result has been a long-term relationship built on trust and confidence.”