Magazine

Hospital Integrates Intercoms Into All of Its Security Systems

By Alek Kireyenka

Integration of security systems can be a tricky thing. Being able to use cameras, call boxes and access control readers together as one complete and effective system is a hard goal to achieve. Communications vendors have stepped up to the challenge of providing products that can incorporate a multitude of systems into one cohesive operation.

Like many locations around the country, Parkland Health & Hospital in Dallas wanted to find a solution that integrated well with existing security systems and future installations. Additionally, it wanted to find a system that could cover access control, mass notification and basic emergency communication.

Patrol Lt. Dan Birbeck of the Dallas County Hospital District Police Department is the liaison for the Parkland Memorial “replacement” team. “Parkland is adding a 2 million-square-foot hospital replacement,” he said. “Extensive research was done to find the best emergency communications solution for the replacement. We researched a lot of different companies to find the one that integrated best with all of our systems.

“Talk-A-Phone covered all fronts and was the best fit for everything we offer,” Birbeck said. “My department even received direct training from the company. We learned how to integrate all of the Talk-A-Phone systems with those we already had.

“We’ve experienced a ton of improved efficiencies and response times due to the installation. Our customer service response has improved dramatically,” Birbeck said. “They integrate with all of our other systems, and without them, it would be hard for us to manage what we do. It makes our job and having contact with the public that much easier.”

Parkland Health & Hospital System employs nearly 9,500 individuals. It has nine community-oriented primary care clinics, along with a multitude of school-based clinics and offsite business locations.

The new 2 million-square-foot Memorial hospital replacement, with move-in expected late next year, is the largest in the country, and the connection to surrounding facilities forced Parkland to integrate the security systems effectively enough to cover every campus.

The first piece of its safety and security puzzle was installing emergency phones with access control readers in various locations across its campuses.

Birbeck elaborated: “Our access card readers are integrated with the communications units and camera systems. Once the access card reader is activated, in addition to the intercom, we verify the user’s information on our camera system. If everything checks out, then the system, or our dispatch center, grants access to the individual.”

The second piece of Parkland’s safety and security puzzle was integrating the vast amount of SkyPoint cameras with the rest of its security systems. Birbeck’s team specifically wanted the cameras to directly interact with the call boxes and emergency towers. It also wanted the cameras to provide a clear record of situations before and after a call box activation.

“The integration of the intercoms with our camera and access card readers allows us to use all the systems together at once,” he said. “For example, when an intercom unit is activated, our SkyPoint cameras lock onto the area where the call box is located.The same thing applies for the access card readers.”

The third and final piece of Parkland’s safety and security puzzle was integrating a mass notification solution with the rest of its security systems. Talk-A-Phone’s WEBS towers and WEBS Contact software gave Parkland “the tools to both manage and broadcast our messages,” Birbeck said.

“They allow us to broadcast prerecorded messages inside and outside our facilities. The software allows us to contact everyone at the same time, or contact separate areas of the campus individually. The WEBS products give us great flexibility,” he said.

Overall, the intercom units at Parkland have integrated with every aspect of its safety and security systems. Birbeck said his department has experienced dramatic improvement in response time, along with improved overall communications management of the Parkland campus.

Alek Kireyenka, Marketing Manager for Talk-a-Phone, can be reached at akireyenka@talkaphone.com.



 

Article Abstract from May, 2013




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