Medical institutions face many challenges. One of the most important is ensuring the safety and well-being of all on-premise individuals. Hospital access control systems are used to increase security but they can only help if installed and set up correctly and efficiently. A cohesive effort between hospital management, security, HR, and IT is necessary to ensure everyone’s safety, prevent theft and violence and avoid a shutdown of hospital operations.
Who is Protected by Access Control?
Even in a smaller hospital setting, it is difficult for security cameras and personnel to keep an eye on everyone at all times. Not only that, your security officers may not be allowed access to specific areas, such as those that house dangerous substances or contagious patients. With access control, you can protect all people throughout your hospital at all times.
Hospital staff – administrative, doctors, nurses, utility crews, volunteers, etc.
Patients – referrals, walk-ins, scheduled check-ups, emergency cases, inpatients, outpatients
Visitors – family and friends of patients, hospital staff visitors
Hospital suppliers – medical representatives, delivery crews for medical and non-medical supplies
Vendors – cafeteria and concessions servers, gift shop staff, and all other vendors
The need to protect staff, patients, and visitors from those with malicious intent is also something to consider.
Access Control System Functions
Protecting high-traffic areas may seem a little more obvious, but there are also critical areas of the hospital that don’t receive high foot traffic and still require stringent security. Implementing access control means protecting all areas from unauthorized access and restricting entry to areas that are closed off to the public.
It also allows for monitoring the movement of guests and hospital personnel throughout the building(s), identifying individuals who can access restricted rooms, and granting entry to personnel who have clearance to specific areas of the hospital. Your security team is enabled to program specific security parameters based on your needs.
In such a fast-paced environment, it is critical that hospital security is ready and able to respond when a crisis occurs, such as a sudden influx of emergency patients, a stream of media, and police in pursuit of a high-profile patient or a dangerous individual entering the building. Access control systems allow you to deploy lockdowns (specific areas or the entire facility) and usher people in the right direction during an emergency to ensure their safety.
Incorporating access control maintenance in your routine security audits will ensure your systems are working properly.
Access Control Security Audits: Focus Points
Regular audits are vital for ensuring that your access control systems are functioning correctly. It is important to pay particular attention to the following five areas.
Physical Barriers – Access control audits should include tests on physical barriers like magnetic and auto-lock doors and turnstiles and speed gates for pedestrians and cars. Barriers that are slow to respond could be problematic in emergency situations.
Identification Devices – Impress upon your staff the importance of keeping their personal identification and access keys safe. Built-in devices like biometric-access locks, access control keypads and identification sensors must be programmed to admit the correct clearance levels into certain areas of the hospital. The audit should also extend to the data logs, which show an accurate record of foot traffic into restricted areas.
Door Control Hardware and Software – Faulty access control due to careless installation and software bugs can render your access control system useless.
Clearances – It’s imperative for the administration to keep a close watch over the clearances of all hospital employees, vendors, and visitors.
Human Resources should immediately deactivate identification devices of resigned or terminated employees. Don’t wait for a system audit but do initiate small, periodic audits to ensure everyone has the proper access.
If you are looking to update or upgrade your hospital’s access control systems, we can help. Not only that, we specialize in nurse call systems, panic buttons, fire detection, mass notification, and communications systems installation, integration, and maintenance, too. Contact us for more information!