Siemens Provides Access Control Upgrade for 7,500 Employees at Philly Hospital

PHILADELPHIA — As part of its corporate rebranding, the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network (AEHN) needed to re-badge as many as 7,500 employees. With the help of Siemens Security Solutions and HID Global, the hospital re-badged its employees and replaced 300 existing HID Wiegand swipe readers.

“We were actually in a health system with another group of hospitals,” AEHN Network Director of Protective Services Russell Jones tells SSI. “When we went on our own and the ID itself needed to be changed. As we were going through that, it just made sense to upgrade the technology that we had to get more applications on the card.”

New badges were necessary for personnel at the organization’s four hospitals, seven campuses and roughly 50 offsite primary care physician and surgical center locations. Through a bid process, AEHN selected Siemens as its integrator.

“Even though Siemens was already our integrator, it was not a guarantee that it would win the job,” says Jones. “It didn’t come down to price necessarily. Because we use Software House’s C•CURE system for our card access, there are only so many vendors that are distributors for the company.”

Siemens chose HID’s dual-technology iCLASS readers and smart cards to replace AEHN’s existing swipe readers because the product simultaneously supports legacy magstripe cards and contactless cards. “In talking with the manufacturer, I realized that there was a program that would help the hospital price-wise for the first batch of prox cards,” Siemens Senior Sales Executive Mike Esmond tells SSI. “The solution also could make the transition of moving swipe cards to prox cards easier without any interruption to daily operations.”

AEHN produced its 7,000 new dual-technology badges using HID Identity on Demand services, rather than producing the badges in-house because of cost effectiveness, says Jones. This enabled the hospital to complete its re-badging production run in just four weeks, with minimum involvement from its protective services team. AEHN initially provided dual proximity cards for employees to allow the readers to change over in stages.

During the upgrade, Siemens helped the hospital clean out and download its databases in order to send the information to HID. The access control provider shipped the cards to the respective locations. However, there was a glitch during the upgrading process, says Esmond. “There was a programming issue coming from HID. Out of 10,000 cards, a few hundred of them needed to be corrected. We sent the cards back to HID and the cards were replaced quickly.”

Additionally, AEHN integrated the personalized credentials with its KRONOS payroll system. The cards were tested for four payroll cycles to ensure the application worked. “I wanted to make sure it worked without any hitches,” says Jones. “As you can imagine, if the cards didn’t work and people weren’t paid correctly, it would have been a challenge for me.”

Since adopting the new smart-card badges, AEHN departments have integrated other functions including single sign-on to computers, which enhances information security, and cashless vending, which integrate the hospital’s cafeteria and vending systems with its KRONOS payroll system. Future plans include tracking mandatory employee vaccinations, adding physician credential information for disaster preparedness, and integrating medical records and patient data.

Jones, who meets with Esmond once every week to discuss more technology upgrades, offers tips for integrators placing bids for hospital installations. “I personally look to see if the integrator has any experience in my industry,” he says. “When I look at references, I look for people who I don’t know in the industry. That way, it will give me a true sense of what the integrator has done in the past.”

He also says planning with the integrator and hospital staff is key to a successful upgrade, adding that he worked with AEHN’s IT, marketing and human resources staff to talk with Siemens and HID. “We put a lot of effort into the planning phase because of the size of our facility. On a project of this magnitude, there is no way we could do this without everyone’s participation and cooperation.”

With nearly 11 years in the integration business, Esmond agrees, citing the upgrade as his most complex job to date. He adds that Siemens, which launched a vertical market division last year, is in the process of transitioning AEHN to IP-based solutions.


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