Magazine article Health Facilities Management

Access Control Devices Offer Security Solutions; New Technologies Cover a Wide Range of Hospital and Health Care Applications

Magazine article Health Facilities Management

Access Control Devices Offer Security Solutions; New Technologies Cover a Wide Range of Hospital and Health Care Applications

Article excerpt

Access control devices such as locks, door alarms, and entry and egress tools are designed to help health care facilities meet tough security challenges. As they have evolved, these devices have become part of systems that offer a way to centrally control doors, exits, entrances and ID badges.

Increasingly, today's access control solutions are integrated with other security and nonsecurity systems such as human resources software, identity management and video surveillance, all of which provide information that can help to mitigate a potential crisis. They offer users a single-control platform to monitor specific locations in real time, particularly during emergencies to pinpoint and access event status and aid first responders.

By their nature, hospitals are open-access buildings that pose challenges to manufacturers that supply these systems. In response, security teams are incorporating access-control solutions that restrict and control access into specific areas, in addition to solutions that manage keys and secure other assets.

"Hospital administrators are welcoming a series of new access-control technologies that can manage systems across multiple facilities and platforms," says James Duff, a marketing communications manager at dormakaba Group.

Areas of demand

All areas of a hospital require a solid security system but, in particular, hospital emergency departments, maternity wards, intensive care units and pharmacies are seeing a greater demand for security devices because of the types of patients and high-value items that they house, experts agree. Those areas are employing access-control devices such as locks, ID cards, entry devices and door alarms to ensure that only medical personnel and approved visitors gain entry.

Because research has shown that quiet, relaxing spaces can improve health care outcomes, more hospitals are focusing on the aesthetic components of their facilities. "We are seeing more requests from inpatient areas for security options that are extremely quiet. This requires a total door-security solution that provides access-control components and door hardware and locks that are as silent as possible, as well as acoustic doors and frames that keep out unwanted sounds," says Peter Boriskin, vice president of commercial product management, Assa Abloy Americas, New Haven, Conn.

Also, operational changes to a facility can greatly enhance the patient experience if it reduces or streamlines a process that might be seen as burdensome. "For example, we have seen cabinet locks being used for medicine cabinets within exam rooms, which allow staff to distribute medicines from the hallway into a secure pass-through cabinet. This prevents any disturbance while keeping medications safely under lock and key," Boriskin adds.

Latest introductions

When properly selected and deployed, access-control equipment can play a vital role in enhancing safety and security that involve prescription and controlled medications, physical security, wandering patients, infant abductions, behavioral concerns, visitor management and other issues.

Among the latest introductions to the health care market, the Control Trim series from Securitech Group Inc., Maspeth, N.Y, features the ability to add electric release to doors with mortise locks, cylindrical locks or exit devices, without violating life-safety codes or adding magnetic locks. "By burying the electric release in the exterior trim, and adding request-to-exit signals to the interior lever movement, single-motion egress is possible. Electric release can be 24v DC, 12v DC or Power over Ethernet (PoE)," says Mark Berger, president.

Detex Corp., New Braunfels, Texas, has introduced a delayed egress with latch-retraction option, which is designed for applications in which delayed egress and remote unlocking, remote dogging, access control or automatic operation is desired. …

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