Hospital Undergoes Integration Operation


An award-winning medical facility recognized for innovative services and customer satisfaction, Tift Regional Medical Center is a 191-bed hospital serving 12 counties in South Central Georgia. With its legacy system beginning to fail and to ensure the safety of its 95 physicians, 1,500 staff members, 24 security officers, patients and visitors, hospital decision makers prioritized bringing security in line with the organization’s forward-thinking approach.

Several key factors had to be considered when evaluating the possible security solutions. Poised for growth, the medical center’s expansion includes a new intensive care unit that is currently under construction. Tift Regional Medical Center also supports several remote locations that are managed from the main campus, including a second medical campus with doctors’ offices and facilities in adjacent towns.

Working closely with systems integrator CooperCraft Communications, the medical facility’s Tift Regional Medical Center selected a combined digital video and networked access control solution that, among other things, provided smooth integration, the ability to download floor plans, set up alert levels and lock down the facility instantly, and expansion capabilities as the hospital’s footprint and security requirements continue to grow.

Staying Ahead Of The Curve

Tift Regional Medical Center security specialist Lt. Nicholas DeJohn can’t help but view hospital security from a law enforcement perspective. DeJohn joined the hospital after a successful career as a Connecticut State Police officer, and never forgets how important speed and agility are when it comes to keeping communities and citizens safe.

“Hospitals are no longer sacred areas,” says DeJohn. “We need to be able to secure this facility at a moment’s notice.” He is particularly concerned about being able to secure the emergency room and nursery. “Everyone should feel secure when coming to our hospital.”

With an outdated security system, the management and administrative tasks were increasingly time consuming, components were beginning to break down, and it was difficult to replay video and access reports. The system was barely able to fulfill the hospital’s security needs, let alone improve efficiency within the facility.

When it came time to review possible replacements, DeJohn knew he wanted a single system that could grow to tie all of the medical center’s facilities together and that would ensure the safety of patients, visitors and staff. It would need to streamline processes and improve monitoring capabilities. Finally, the system had to be capable of both handling a large-scale deployment and being able to expand as the medical center grew.

Integrator Referred By Colleague

With a reputation for reliability and a relationship of trust built over time, CooperCraft Communications was looked to by DeJohn for recommendations on a new system.

Following 12 years of experience in the electrical and telecom industries dealing with both low and high voltage, Jerry Cooper and his wife, Maggie, founded CooperCraft in January 2002.

“I wanted to provide a higher level of service to clients beyond what I could do working for someone else,” says Cooper. “I wanted to establish a company to control the way my customers were treated and have the authority to solve their problems in the best interest of the client without the only thought being profitability.”

From an initial focus on its core telecom systems competencies, the company has grown into other areas such as security systems and cabling infrastructures.

Today, most of the company’s business is generated through customer referrals, which was the case with Tift Regional Medical Center as Bob Howe, facility manager for Colquitt Regional Medical Center, originally recommended the integrator to DeJohn.

Distributor Helps Sell Solution

CooperCraft Communications specified the combination of S2 Security Corp. access control and Dedicated Micros (DM) video surveillance technology to DeJohn.

“This is one of the best IP-based systems we have seen,” says Jerry Cooper, CEO of CooperCraft. “We consulted Scott Bryan [regional security manager for Anixter], our IT distribution partner. He reviewed the project and recommended the solution as a perfect fit for this type of project. We were able to come in with a more cost-effective system and still do everything they wanted us to do.”

“We love to take an end user like Tift Regional Medical Center and an integrator like CooperCraft and bring them an integrated solution,” says Bryan. “That is what Anixter does best; we bring best of breed for the application they have. I love recommending DM against any conventional DVR because it is so easy to use and it integrates so well with the S2 platform. Anixter has experienced huge success recommending the S2 platform for integrated security projects.”

The two systems are completely compatible and connecting them together on the network was a simple procedure accomplished in the software user interface. Though the project’s many components will take several stages to roll out, DeJohn is already seeing the benefits of an IP-based system.

“We have buildings scattered throughout the area, and need to be able to pull all of the locations together,” says DeJohn. “Now, we can get on the network from any point and make things work, with excellent video integration. And our IT team is impressed that you don’t have to load software on their system.”

For this large-scale deployment, S2 NetBox and DM’s solution offered a high level of flexibility, scalability and ease of implementation. Tony Cooper, Jerry’s brother and the project manager for CooperCraft, says, “The simple ease of installation and programming of both systems was extremely important in job efficiency.”

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