University of Chicago Hospitals
University of Chicago Hospitals

Sep 1, 1999 12:00 PM
Priscilla Janson

It is no surprise that the University of Chicago Hospitals Medical Center was selected as one of the 14 best hospitals in the United States in U.S. News & World Report's annual hospital survey.

University of Chicago Hospitals is a 1,031-licensed-bed academic medical center based primarily on the Hyde Park campus of the University of Chicago. Their motto, "At the Forefront of Medicine," is evident in the medical care this hospital provides to its patients.

Approximately 31,000 patients from all parts of the world are admitted annually and more than 500,000 outpatients visit the hospitals each year, including 80,000 emergency room visits.

Five hospitals on five city blocks, the University of Chicago Hospitals includes:

* Bernard Mitchell Hospital, the primary adult patient care facility;

* The University of Chicago Children's Hospital, devoted to the medical needs of children;

* Chicago Lying-in Hospital, a maternity and women's hospital;

* The Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine (DCAM), a state-of-the-art ambulatory-care facility;

* Weiss Memorial Hospital, an acute hospital on Chicago's north side.

The hospitals employ more than 4,700 employees. Providing a safe environment for both staff and patients presents a challenge for the hospitals' security department. Hospitals, by their nature, are designed to be open and accessible to the public. However, street crime can follow its victims through the hospital doors if not properly protected. Medical equipment, supplies, and controlled substances are often targets of theft, and hospital patients, visitors and staff can become victims of purse snatchings and muggings.

Donald Futrell, University of Chicago Hospitals director of facilities operations and security, takes a global approach to the hospitals' security management. "Our hospital is a microcosm of our city, so we protect it like one. It's a huge area with many entrances and exits that must be closely monitored. People are constantly coming and going. We have to be aware of what's happening at all times," says Futrell.

THE MOVE TO CENTRALIZED CONTROL When Futrell first came to the hospitals in 1994 there were six different security vendors, a variety of security equipment and 26 different forms of authorized IDs. There was no centralized security control - each department was implementing its own security procedures and making its own buying decisions. So Futrell and the hospitals turned to Access Systems Inc. (ASI), Homewood, Ill., to design and install a single security management system that would serve the entire complex.

With the Infinity security management system by Andover Controls, University of Chicago Hospitals now has centralized security control hospital-wide. Since the system was installed in 1994, the overall number of security incidents at the hospitals is down 55 percent, and thefts, which account for 75 percent of the number, have been reduced dramatically.

"When we first proposed the Infinity system to University of Chicago Hospitals," says Nate Bouma, vice president of ASI and the account sales engineer for the hospitals project, "we ran into many 'political boundaries' within the hospital organization. Each department had grown accustomed to managing its own security operations independently and many were resistant to the idea of a universal security system and centralized control.

"Plus, the sheer size and geography of the University of Chicago Hospitals facility and the number of employees that would need to be trained on the new system were additional challenges," says Bouma. The Infinity system is flexible enough to allow us to meet these concerns. We were able to show the hospitals how we could customize the system to meet individual departments' needs, thus improving upon safety and security of patients and employees."

A NEW AND COMPREHENSIVE SECURITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM The new system includes controlled access to more than 640 doors with 620 Wiegand card readers, "nested parking" control and integration with the hospitals' HVAC, lighting, CCTV, paging, intercom, critical life point monitoring, fire alarms, elevators, e-mail, and infant tagging systems. Behind the scenes, the Infinity system monitors 1,430 security points, handles more than 715 unique alarms and 233 unique system schedules, stores more than 25,000 personnel records, and processes approximately 130,000 transactions per day.

A G&A Imaging Episuite system, compatible with Andover's SX 8000 front-end software, provides the hospitals with a single integrated card access/photo ID badging system.

University of Chicago Hospitals' security system utilizes the latest in network technology. Infinity operates on a 200 Mbps Ethernet fiber backbone with backplane switches for increased network performance and reliability. More than 30 miles of network cabling span the University of Chicago's campus. Three AEclipse CX 9400 network controllers, 11 Infinity CX 9200 network controllers, one primary and one redundant file server with RAID 5 drive systems, 26 Infinity SX 8000 operator workstations and a photo badging workstation reside on the Ethernet network. Infinity's Infinet field bus network supports more than 250 access control and intrusion detection controllers and nine touch-screen displays installed throughout the hospital complex. High-speed dial-in modems and direct Internet control provide remote network access.

Jeff McClain, University of Chicago Hospitals facilities systems manager, works with the system every day. "The security features of the system allow detailed control of the variety of systems here at the University of Chicago Hospitals. This combination of flexibility and security make administration of the system easy."

CCTV: MORE THAN JUST A MONITORING SYSTEM The CCTV system has provided the hospitals not only centralized monitoring but has also proven to be a reliable investigation tool. According to Futrell, in 1998 eight security-related incidents were solved based solely on the use of the integrated Infinity/ CCTV system. The system consists of a Pelco 9760 Matrix with 20 high-speed pre-position domes and 260 fixed cameras with a full real-time interface to Andover's Infinity SX 8000 front-end workstations. Eighteen Dedicated Micros units multiplex 16 of these cameras as 18 time-lapse VCRs record real-time video 24 hours a day. About 900 tapes are kept in rotation at all times. Forty-eight video monitors in the hospital's five control stations can display camera footage of areas in alarm state and allow for spot viewing of camera areas sequentially.

An example of system integration occurs during a "forced entry." Upon receipt of an alarm from Infinity, an ASCII code is sent via the RS-232 port from the CX 9200 to the Pelco Matrix System, which, in turn, instructs the camera adjacent to the active alarm point to its preset view of the area. Any activity at the door is recorded in real-time on a VCR and displayed on the dispatcher's alarm monitor. It remains until the operator acknowledges a blinking icon and message on the SX 8000's graphic alarm panel screen.

Simultaneously, the hospitals' TOA IC-100 intercom system switches on for dispatcher-to-alarm point communications, and, depending on the type of alarm or time of day, an Infinity interface to the on-site Motorola paging system will automatically notify pre-designated groups of personnel that a particular alarm has occurred. Because Infinity also interfaces to the hospital's e-mail system, active alarms are automatically e-mailed to designated personnel.

Along with access control, University of Chicago Hospitals has found several other ways to integrate its CCTV system with the Infinity system. In the hospital's cafeteria, for example, cameras serve as a deterrent to theft and food loss. A camera above each cash register records every customer transaction as the actual register transaction itself displays on the CCTV system monitors.

In the basement of Bernard Mitchell Hospital, a camera was placed above the linen storage room doors at the West Tunnel junction. This door had suffered repeated, costly (and, up to this point, anonymous) damage by large hospital carts and forklifts passing by. Although employees have to swipe their cards to open the doors, there was no way of knowing which employee inflicted the damage. Now when the door is hit, a shock sensor on the door, wired to the Infinity system, activates an overhead camera. A thermal printer at the dispatch station, directly linked to this camera's monitor, immediately prints a picture of the image at the moment of "impact". The picture is reviewed, and if applicable, the responsible department is sent a bill to offset the repair costs for the door.

JOINING FORCES TO PROTECT BABIES University of Chicago Hospitals recently installed an Instantel Hugs system. "Infant tagging," as it has been coined, is a high-tech infant protection system designed to protect babies in maternity wards and nurseries from potential abduction. A one-half-inch round button-like tag attached to a band is placed around each infant's ankle immediately after birth. Each tag is a miniature RF receiver that is individually supervised via a signal to a Hugs central console every 60 seconds to confirm its location and status. The baby's parents or authorized hospital personnel can carry the baby freely throughout a designated area without generating an alarm. However, if an infant is brought near an exit door, or if the ankle band is cut off or even stretched, an alarm is generated and all doors leaving the protected area automatically lock shut.

If by some chance a baby were successfully abducted from the area, an alarm would sound almost immediately as the particular tag would not "report in" during the Hugs system's scan of all tags. The Hugs central console will immediately display the identification of the baby and a map locating the exit door through which the baby was taken.

ASI programmed the Hugs system to interface with the card access function by allowing only certain authorized cardholders (nurses, doctors, etc.) to transport babies in and out of the maternity and nursery areas. A mother wishing to carry her baby out of the nursery area cannot do so unless a nurse, for example, accompanies her and swipes her access card through the door's card reader to deactivate the preset alarm time-out for the Hugs system.

PARKING GARAGE BECOMES TOP REVENUE GENERATOR Today, University of Chicago Hospitals' 1,700-space public parking garage is one of the top revenue-producing departments in the hospital. But prior to 1994 it was a different story. The parking garage was losing money annually as access control in this six-level structure was sorely lacking and employees found numerous creative ways to "beat the system" to avoid paying the hospital's mandatory monthly parking fee. Now the outside contractor that operates the garage together with the Andover Infinity system and a "nested parking" structure, have made the hospitals' parking facility one of the safest and most efficiently run garages in the city. The parking gates, stairwell doors, perimeter cameras and the garage's 115 two-way panic/duress stations are all under Infinity control.

"Nested parking" means assignment to a specific parking level in the garage based on job classification. Hospital visitors and patients have the convenience of parking on the lower four levels; physicians park in a reserved area; valet-parked cars are driven to the third level; general physicians are assigned to a reserved area on the fourth level; and general staff employees "nest" in the fifth and sixth levels of the garage. All hospital employees swipe their cards at the main parking gate and have a 15-minute time allotment to drive to their assigned floor upstairs and swipe in again at a second reader. Their card will be "disabled" after 15 minutes if they do not swipe their card through the second reader. They are required to exit via the cashier lane where their names are placed on a violator's list.

Lighting control is an additional feature of the Infinity system in a new parking facility. Here, two different cost-saving lighting control strategies have been put in effect: The lights are switched off either 20 minutes after the last employee swipes out of the garage (based on Infinity 's occupancy count), or automatically after 7 p.m. if there are fewer than 10 cars in the garage. And no matter what, the lights always shut off at 10 p.m. each night. If an employee swipes his card though, the lights will come back on.

YOUR HOSPITALS ACCESS CARD: DON'T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT In 1994, employees at University of Chicago used 26 different authorized forms of ID. Now there is only one form of ID used by the university. Each University of Chicago Hospitals' employee is issued a Wiegand-format badge/swipe card, in one of six different design formats depending on their job at the hospital. Wearing ID badges - once resisted as an "unwanted change to the way we have always done things" - are now regarded by employees as a valuable asset to working in the hospital. "Because, basically," Futrell notes, "you can't get anywhere or do much without it!" Furthermore, an employee's "level of access," which is programmed into the cardholder's database record, is now looked upon as a "privilege."

Presently, employees use their cards for standard applications: to access the parking garage, enter and exit high-security and restricted areas within the hospital, and to access all elevators, doors, and stairwells after hours. However, the University of Chicago Hospitals security staff and ASI are continually developing new applications using these Wiegand cards and the security management system.

For example, an employee wanting to enter his office in the DCAM building after hours must swipe his/her card at the entrance door. An identification photo of the employee appears on the SX 8000 workstation screen at the guard desk inside, and the security officer on duty can authorize entrance to the building.

Another example is the "Autovalet Scrub Distribution System," which is used by University of Chicago Hospitals to minimize the number of scrubs that "disappear" from the hospital. Staff members are assigned an allotment of scrubs per month and the data is programmed into the Infinity system. To receive their scrubs, they must swipe their badges through a card reader at the Autovalet. The machine will either dispense their scrubs or display a message if they have not returned their previous scrubs or have used up their allotment for the month.

There are other examples of how the access cards and the Infinity system are streamlining processes at the hospital. The hospital's materials management staff use their cards to record the "on-time" deliveries of supplies. Doctors can pre-pay monthly for meals in the cafeteria and then swipe their cards at the cash register to have the money automatically deducted from their account.

Soon, the system will help track the status of staff members more accurately. When a doctor swipes his card as he enters the parking garage entrance, his paging status will automatically change to "In on Page," and when he leaves the garage at the end of his shift, the status will change back to "Out Long Distance."

BEYOND SECURITY CONTROL Although security management and access control take center stage in Infinity's realm of control at University of Chicago Hospitals, fire system integration, HVAC control, critical systems monitoring, emergency power, and cardiac conditioned power quality are no less important responsibilities for the control system.

City fire code requirements are extremely strict in Chicago. One of the key selling features of the Infinity system, according to Ron Graziano, electrical supervisor of the hospitals' Plant Operations, was its ability to interface to the hospitals' Class II Edwards fire alarm system (the Class II system provides a pre-signal inside the facility). "The manner in which the fire alarm system here notifies us is pretty unique," says Ron, "so we were very demanding in what we were looking for in terms of a back-up notification system. ASI was able to integrate a Class II paging system to the Edwards system."

When a smoke detector goes off at the hospitals, it sends a predefined code to the Edwards fire panel, which, in turn, broadcasts throughout the hospital via the overhead paging system, a series of 3-pulse tones to announce the location of the alarm. Each series of pulses, or "bongs," represent a building number, floor, and a specific number used by the fire department. Infinity uses an Andover Controls' Plain English driver developed by ASI, which acts as a pulse train decoder interpreting the tones and forwarding this data via the Motorola paging system to a specific group of maintenance personnel. The Infinity system also provides back-up notification to the campus police department. Meanwhile the SX 8000 workstation displays the fire alarm message and an AutoCAD graphic highlighting the building, zone and floor number of the alarm.

Infinity HVAC monitoring and control has received a positive reception at University of Chicago Hospitals since its installation. The new system provides the Plant Operations staff with remote monitoring and access capabilities and tighter control than the previous pneumatic system in the office spaces of the Biological Science Unit. Currently, the hospital is expanding the Infinity HVAC system and launching a hospital-wide energy management program.

Infinity is also used to monitor critical building pressure gauges (air, water, steam, and lab vacuum). Infinity monitors the hospital's main and reserve oxygen tanks and nitrous oxide supplies and provides tank switchover control. Domestic hot water is hyperchlorinated to prevent legionella growth; therefore, the hospital's water monitoring system is also under Infinity control to ensure that the water is maintained at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and that the free chlorine level is maintained within the acceptable range.

One key application of system integration between HVAC and security is the use of card readers to determine specific occupancy status for certain personnel. Don Futrell's office HVAC system is controlled by Infinity, and upon swiping into the parking garage in the morning, Futrell's office climate and lighting settings are set to his preference. Upon carding out of the garage at night, everything is changed to setback mode. The potential for cost savings is exciting, especially as additional areas are also being considered for power monitoring and energy management.

HOSPITAL SECURITY: YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH Together, Futrell's staff and ASI are continually coming up with ways not only to improve the security procedures currently in place but also to implement creative ideas to enhance the system. Futrell states, "We are constantly asking ASI, 'Can we make the system do this? Can the system do that?"

Both patients and employees alike can rest assured they will feel secure when they come through the doors at University of Chicago Hospitals. And no doubt this hospital, which prides itself in being on the forefront of medicine, will likewise continue to lead the way in security technology. "After all," says Futrell, "there's no such thing as too much security when it comes to a hospital."

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