VHC Health

VHC Health - Savance Workplace Case Study Overview Image

Major US Hospital Improves Safety Procedures with Facial Recognition-Enabled Visitor Management

A Savance Workplace Case Study

Organization: VHC Health

Industry: Medical Facility

Customer Since: 2023

Headquarters: Arlington, VA

Product(s) Used:

Chad Ellis

Director of Security & Parking

Security incidents have been reduced, and knowing the positive identity of non-employees has allowed our Security team to identify persons involved in security-related incidents, something that has had a direct impact on improving the safety of the environment at our facility.

Since implementing the Savance Visitor Management solution, we have seen staff perception of safety increase, and security incidents involving non-employees have significantly been reduced.

Major US Hospital Improves Safety Procedures with Facial Recognition-Enabled Visitor Management

A Savance Workplace Case Study

Over 75% of all workplace violence incidents in the United States happen within healthcare, and they are increasing in frequency and severity. Our first priority is ensuring a safe environment for everyone on the VHC Health campus.

Chad Ellis, Director of Security and Parking

Background:

Rated in the top 2.5% of hospitals in the United States, VHC Health is a cutting-edge, non-profit healthcare facility committed to providing comprehensive medical services to patients in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. With a focus on innovation and patient-centered care, VHC Health offers a wide range of services in primary care, specialty care, diagnostic imaging, and outpatient surgeries. The large, 1.5m+ square foot, 453-bed healthcare facility sees more than half a million patients each year, including more than 65,000 ER visits in the last year alone.

VHC Visitor & Patient Self Check-in Kiosk with Facial Recognition

“Over 75% of all workplace violence incidents in the United States happen within healthcare, and they are increasing in frequency and severity”

Problem:

As workplace violence and threats continue to rise in the United States and across the globe, VHC Health became wary of these events as they relate to healthcare facilities. “Over 75% of all workplace violence incidents in the United States happen within healthcare, and they are increasing in frequency and severity,” Chad Ellis, Director of Security & Parking, explains. “Many facilities are investigating visitor management systems to positively identify who is entering their facilities and thereby protect their patients, visitors, and staff from violence.”

Having a complete Visitor Management system in place would certainly be a step in the right direction when it comes to improving safety and security. In fact, Chad Ellis mentions studies showing that people are significantly less likely to commit a crime or do something nefarious when they have been identified or are being watched. However, prior to finding Savance, VHC Health did not have a global check-in system for non-employees, including patients, contractors, and visitors. Certain critical and higher-risk units within the facility had a manual check-in process in place, but Ellis described the system as severely lacking. “The existing visitor processes in critical and higher-risk units were not only disparate and unit-dependent, but also manual and very time-consuming for the staff,” he explains.

“The existing visitor processes in critical and higher-risk units were not only disparate and unit-dependent, but also manual and very time-consuming for the staff”

Search:

As a step towards better protecting both staff and patients, as well as streamlining operations, VHC Health set out to find an electronic Visitor Management system. This decision was not brought on by a specific issue at the organization, Ellis clarifies, but more as a result of the global issue of increasing workplace violence and threats of harm within the healthcare industry. “The ability to positively identify all non-employees entering our facility is just one step VHC Health is undertaking,” Ellis explains, “But it is an important step nonetheless.”

VHC Health had a multitude of criteria in mind for its future visitor management system:

  • Easy to use
  • Automated (self-service)
  • Fully configurable
  • Facial recognition capabilities
  • Watchlist functionality to deny access
  • Background check capabilities to link to outside databases for violent/sex-offender registries
  • SaaS (cloud-based)
  • Fully scalable
  • Aesthetically appealing

VHC Health looked at several different visitor management providers; however, although a couple of the solutions met most of the requirements, the price was very high and the estimated equipment lead-time was long, making VHC Health’s desire for a quick implantation difficult. “After looking at several other providers, many of them more expensive than Savance with fewer features, we found Savance through continued independent research,” says Chad Ellis. “We [also] reached out to other organizations, such as Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., who utilize the Savance solution for some of their patient check-in processes.”

“We reached out to other organizations, such as Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., who utilize the Savance solution.”

Another big part in VHC Health’s decision to go with Savance Workplace was the high level of attentiveness provided by Savance team members right from the beginning. “John Loria, our Savance Account Rep, should be directly credited with some of the success in Savance being chosen to provide VHC Health’s first visitor management system,” Ellis states. “His quick email responses, thorough answers to questions, and that personal touch that didn’t make you feel like we were working with a typical ‘sales person’ were some of the reasons.”

Solution & Implementation:

The full Savance Workplace system implemented at VHC Health consists of 18 custom-branded self-service visitor kiosks, which are a mix of free-standing podium kiosks (11) and desk mounts (7). All kiosks are equipped with drop-in style ID scanners for required identity verification, as well as with printers for automated name tag printing after successfully completing the visitor process.

Kiosk equipped with temperature scanning/facial recognition devices

Kiosks also include facial recognition devices, allowing people to optionally register their face for future visits. If electing to do so, all they need to do on their next visit is to present themselves to the kiosk, significantly shortening the registration process. The same devices can also be multi-purposed for temperature scanning, if ever needed.

Since the primary goal of the self check-in kiosks is to increase safety and security, all non-employees over the age of 18, including patients, contractors, and visitors, need to scan a government-issued ID at the kiosk when checking in. This automatically takes a copy of the front and back of their ID, crops their picture off the front, and records their name and date of birth into the visitor management system. Visitors will also specify what type of visitor they are and what department they are going to, and be taken down various question paths based on their answers.

“We worked with Sam literally days, nights, and weekends to get the system and visitor check-in workflow ‘just right’ from the weeks before go-live and well after.”

As a long-time provider of Visitor Management solutions, Savance works with a lot of different industries; however, a large healthcare organization such as VHC Health comes with its own unique challenges to be solved both during implementation and after. Sam Lynn, Support & Implementation Lead at Savance, worked directly with the VHC Health team throughout the project. “VHC Health and Chad were very pleasant to work with,” he says. “They were responsive and professional, and worked closely with the Savance team to get the project done without any delays or roadblocks, despite the large size and complexity of the deployment.”

To VHC Health, Lynn’s guidance and help throughout the project made a huge difference. “Sam Lynn, our implementation engineer, was beyond instrumental to the success of our system,” Ellis states. “We worked with Sam literally days, nights, and weekends to get the system and visitor check-in workflow ‘just right’ from the weeks before go-live and well after.”

In parallel to Sam Lynn’s pivotal role, Ellis points out that VHC Health really appreciates how support continued seamlessly throughout the process: before the decision to go with Savance and all the way through implementation and beyond, making it clear that Savance truly cares about its end users and wants to make sure they are completely satisfied with their system in every way. “We believe the main reason we would recommend Savance is that they were willing to work and work (and work) until we were satisfied with our system. Savance took our concerns seriously and offered solutions, not excuses, and even when they had to admit there was a problem, they owned it and fixed it.”

“Savance took our concerns seriously and offered solutions, not excuses, and even when they had to admit there was a problem, they owned it and fixed it.”

“This speaks volumes to how important Savance considers their customers, and is something you do not see from many technology solutions companies today”

Ellis mentions that Savance’s desire to follow through was particularly clear when Savance’s CEO, Steve Bardocz, personally got involved to ensure that an equipment capability issue during the implementation phase was satisfactorily resolved. “This speaks volumes to how important Savance considers their customers, and is something you do not see from many technology solutions companies today,” he says. Steve Bardocz returns the recognition, “Having a motivated, dedicated, and capable champion like Chad makes a world of difference to the speed at which a large-scale deployment can be pulled off successfully. His vision, commitment, communications, and decisiveness made all the difference in the world. Chad and his team always took a collective and collaborative approach to everything, which is where we thrive.”

Another piece of the VHC Health and Savance Workplace puzzle was the look of the self-service kiosks. Here, VHC Health worked with Savance’s design team to ensure the kiosks were aesthetically pleasing, and also that they fully matched the VHC Health brand.

For the design of the kiosk, a few main components had to be taken into consideration as important parts of the desired workflow:

  • The home screen needed to use two languages, with instructions for how to proceed in both English and Spanish.
  • It needed to be clear that people are required to scan their driver’s license/state ID.
  • Return visitors needed to be able to utilize facial recognition in order to speed up the process when they come back, meaning information covering this had to be included on the home screen.

Based on previous experience, Savance recommended not using a Sign In/Start button on the home screen of the VHC Health kiosk. “With a recent customer with similar requirements, we found that some people would attempt to avoid scanning their ID if a workaround was provided, for example a Sign In button that takes someone straight to a keyboard screen,” Sofia McClure, Creative Director at Savance, explains. “For that reason, we recommended leaving out the main sign in button on the VHC Health kiosk, and including a subtle text-style link at the bottom of the screen for visitors who may not have an ID.” This strategic adaptation illustrates Savance’s commitment to tailor solutions for every client’s needs, ensuring optimal functionality and user engagement.

As a final step of the implementation process, VHC Health made sure to announce and inform non-employees in advance of the upcoming improvements to safety and security procedures, including its new visitor check-in process, by adding an informational article titled “Security Update and Campus Access” to its website.

Results & Benefits:

After implementing the Savance Workplace Visitor Management system, VHC Health’s visitor process has been streamlined through a centralized system for managing non-employees. The previous unit-specific processes are no longer needed. “Since we implemented the Savance solution, we have altered, reduced the need for, or completely eliminated the check-in processes that we once had for independent units and areas,” says Chad Ellis.

The Savance system also provides VHC Health with much-needed data on visitor traffic. For example, within the first three months following the implementation of the Savance system in November 2023, the organization saw a total of 147,819 visitors, something they would previously have had no way of knowing. “We have been able to provide our organization with data on how many non-employees are entering our facility on a daily basis,” Ellis states. “Security incidents have been reduced, and knowing the positive identity of non-employees has allowed our Security team to identify persons involved in security-related incidents, something that has had a direct impact on improving the safety of the environment at our facility.”

“We have been able to provide our organization with data on how many non-employees are entering our facility on a daily basis”

Increasing safety, of course, has been a key factor all along, and is the most important outcome of the Savance system. “Since implementing the Savance Visitor Management solution, we have seen staff perception of safety increase, and security incidents involving non-employees have significantly been reduced,” Ellis says.

Savance’s Steve Bardocz concludes, “Clients like VHC Health remind everyone at Savance why we do what we do. We’re not just looking to sell off-the-shelf software and never talk to our clients again. Instead, we want to work together to make a real impact.”

“We consider this a partnership, not a client-vendor relationship, and working side-by-side with the Savance team proved that.”

Chad Ellis shares this sentiment, “Beyond meeting our needs from a product standpoint, i.e. having all the features we were looking for, the commitment to making our system work and overcoming our concerns with proposed solutions solidified our choice in Savance. We consider this a partnership, not a client-vendor relationship, and working side-by-side with the Savance team proved that.”