3 Benefits of Access Control Technology in Healthcare

Access control technologies can benefit three different areas of healthcare facilities: security, points of access and traditional access formats.

By Jeff Wardon, Jr., Assistant Editor

Access control technology oversees a few different areas in healthcare facilities: security, points of ingress/egress and methods of access. It also helps streamline these aspects of healthcare facility management, or even automates them. Essentially, this technology helps smooth operations within a building. However, there are three critical ways access controls benefit healthcare facilities: enhanced security, tracking the flow of people entering and exiting, and alternative access formats. 

#1: Strengthening Healthcare Facility Security 

Healthcare facilities house many different resources, technology and occupants that are vital to the public. Keeping them all safe is equally vital, and access controls can help achieve that. According to Brian Ha, product manager at STANLEY Access Technologies, these are how access controls do so: 

  • Restricting access to facilities, and specific areas within those facilities, to only authorized individuals by requiring authenticated credentials prior to unlocking a secured door. Unauthorized individuals could pose a threat to patients or staff. 
  • Providing a secure environment for facility staff and patients. Since access is controlled, staff and patients feel safer in their healthcare environment allowing for focused treatment. 
  • Recording and tracking access. More advanced access control systems provide numerous features that can provide information useful in investigating security incidents. 

#2: Tracking the Flow of People 

Keeping tabs on who enters or exits a facility and the various areas within it is another function of access control technology. Realistically, a lone facility manager cannot keep track of every individual in their building. However, with this technology, they can access something called the “audit trail.” 

Kyle Pfeiffer, industry solutions leader – healthcare at SALTO Systems, says the audit trail pertains to the recording, storing, and retrieval of access data, offering a comprehensive record of all interactions at each lock, wall reader or access point within the system. It can also be used for monitoring or keeping track of users in real-time, enabling facility managers to use it as a tool for compliance reporting, incident investigation and risk mitigation. 

“The audit trail data in modern access control systems is a valuable feature that enhances security and accountability within many types of businesses but is crucial for those that provide services to vulnerable populations such as healthcare facilities,” says Pfeiffer. 

#3: An Alternative to Traditional Formats 

Traditional formats are things such as keys, keycards, passes or fobs. Typically, they are a physical format used to gain access to restricted areas of a healthcare facility only available to authorized personnel. However, these physical formats come with a few issues: losing them, forged copies and a lack of accountability. Access control technologies provide an alternative to the physical methods, though. 

“Custom levels of access control can be thoughtfully assigned, managed and monitored based on individual use cases,” says Thomas Morgan, director of business development for healthcare at ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions. “From open-access lobbies to private patient rooms and other highly secure areas like operating rooms and neonatal care units, custom access rights ensure that people have the right access to the right areas for the right length of time. Access control also provides a full audit trail of who accessed each opening and reduces the risk associated with a lost key that can easily be duplicated.”   

Jeff Wardon, Jr. is the assistant editor for the facilities market. 

December 15, 2023

Topic Area: Security

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