Access Controls Help Track Flow of People in Healthcare Facilities

Access control manufacturers discuss keeping track of those who enter and exit a healthcare facility.

By Jeff Wardon, Jr., Assistant Editor

Controlling who and what enters a healthcare facility is a cornerstone of their security. Access controls do that as well by monitoring the flow of people in and out of a facility, aiding in overall security. In this manufacturer roundtable, Healthcare Facilities Today speaks with access control manufacturers on how the technology can keep track of who enters and exits a facility. 

How can access controls keep track of who enters and exits a healthcare facility? 

“Access control solutions keep track of who enters a facility by creating an audit trail of which credentials are used to gain access. Who exits a facility is typically only tracked on doors with controlled egress. Controlled egress is mainly used on egress doors where the security and clinical needs of patients receiving care require their containment or restraint. In hospitals, that could be a behavioral health area, dementia unit, infant care wing, memory care unit, maternity wing or emergency department. These doors are primarily used at the main entry/egress point of a unit and not for patient rooms, and unless by exception, there can only be one controlled egress door in a path of egress before entering an exit. 

Controlled egress doors use locks – primarily magnetic locks – on the egress side that can only be unlocked by an authorized staff member using a credentialed card, badge or mobile device that triggers the electronic access control (EAC) card reader for the lock. In behavioral health and infant protection units, controlled egress doors are not required to be tied into a fire alarm system since clinical staff stays with these patients to ensure they are moved to safe refuge. On the other hand, controlled egress doors in emergency departments, dementia units and memory care wings are required to be tied in so that their maglocks automatically release when there’s an actuation of the sprinkler or smoke detection system.” 

— Thomas Morgan, director of business development for healthcare, ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions 

“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. 

The audit trail refers to the event logging, storage and retrieval of access data that provides a complete accounting of all interactions at every lock, wall reader or access point on the system. This can be used for monitoring or keeping track of users in real-time, but is also a valuable tool for compliance reporting, incident investigation and risk mitigation purposes.” 

— Kyle Pfeiffer, industry solutions leader – healthcare, SALTO Systems 

“Knowing who and why individuals are in your facility is a key foundation of building security. By leveraging an access control solution, a healthcare facility can more effectively restrict access to only credentialed individuals who have permission to be onsite. This applies to employees of the facility and is extendable to contractors, visitors, or anyone else seeking to enter. 

A robust screening and credentialing process is necessary to complement security technology. This process can include checking in with security personnel, checking individuals against watch lists, no entry lists and VIP lists for special handling, and issuing visitor badges or credentials to be worn at all times while on-site.” 

— Doug Coppola, senior director of healthcare solutions, North America, LenelS2 

“Properly implemented, access control systems will properly authenticate authorized personnel before allowing entry to a controlled space. These access control systems can log this activity locally on a networked server or via cloud storage. Those logs are then easily accessible to the hospital administrator of the system if ever needed for investigative purposes.” 

— Brian Ha, product manager, STANLEY Access Technologies 

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

November 17, 2023

Topic Area: Security

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