Cisco CDA: Implementing Mask Enforcement At Scale For PruittHealth

There isn’t a day that goes by that I see some viral video of some poor employee struggling with an anti-mask customer acting out.  Employees are not trained to deal with this kind of problem; even law enforcement, without backup, struggles with customers who are unreasonable and sometimes even violent.  

Recently, I attended a briefing covering how Cisco’s CDA (Country Digital Acceleration) program working through Everyangle helped PruittHealth enforce mask mandates and better protect their employees.  Healthcare organizations have the greatest need for this technology because people who are knowingly sick go there. If these mandates aren’t enforced, they put their other vulnerable patients and medical staff at risk.  

Let’s talk about how a Smart Camera and a focus on compliance helped PruittHealth solve a problematic issue.   


I spent some time in law enforcement, worked as a security guard, owned the security for my division at IBM, and had security reports when I was in retail.  There is little about the security profession that doesn’t suck for security personnel.  My weapons training at Pinkerton’s was firing a pistol with plastic bullets at a target 2’ away in a closet.  And that was the total of my initial security training before I was put into the field alone to catch shoplifters.  

Mask enforcement has been a nightmare with people being shot, a massive amount of abuse on employees trying to enforce mask mandates, and the risk of being found liable if someone comes in without a mask and infects anyone else.  

The process should identify the problem of someone entering without a properly worn mask early, catch and respond to any escalation rapidly and in force to protect the employee and discourage the bad behavior and create a record of the event to protect against liability, ensure the perpetrator is prosecuted for any crimes, and to make sure your employees are protected against false charges as well.     

MV Cisco Smart Camera Solution

What makes the CDA program different at Cisco is that it creates a relationship first with the organization it is serving.  They then learn about that organization and often employ people who used to work within it to understand its needs and responsibilities.  Then, and only then, do they craft a proposed solution that they manage through deployment to assure what was promised is what the customer receives.   

Indeed, video cameras at the entrances would help. Still, with limited security staff and the job being numbingly dull, an event wouldn’t be picked up before it had gotten out of hand and was escalating to violence.   So you’d need an intelligent camera solution, but taking a full video feed from a large number of cameras would have done ugly things to bandwidth degrading every camera’s feed.  For AI to work, you typically need a lot of resolution.  But if they put the AI inferencing technology in the camera, the camera only sends when it sees a problem. Thus the video quality is maintained, and bandwidth is far lower and more manageable.  

As soon as someone approaches an entrance without a mask, without an approved mask, or not wearing the mask properly, security is notified and can then watch the exchange with the employee at the door.  Suppose it looks like it is beginning to escalate. In that case, security can respond in force, generally getting to the site before the problem gets out of hand, protecting the employee, de-escalating the situation, or restraining the patient until police can arrive.  

Wrapping up:  Keeping It Simple

PruittHealth just needed a solution to enhance their security response for mask mandates.  Everyangle went into the hospital with Cisco support, worked with PruittHealth to define the problem, and then proposed a solution with the least disruption or risk.  They then assured the implementation, which made PruittHealth safer and more secure for both employees and patients.  

Every deployment should go like this. Cisco’s CDA program remains a gold standard for dealing with large companies and governments at scale, even if the need is just for perimeter security during a pandemic.