Providing access and audits in healthcare

August 2003 Access Control & Identity Management, Healthcare (Industry)

Today, it is as important in the healthcare industry as it is anywhere else to limit access to only those authorised. At the same time, especially because of the medicines and narcotics available as well as the high cost of capital equipment, it is as important to audit who went where and when.

Today, using biometrics and special computer-managed locks, this is not as difficult as might be imagined. For instance, up to 500 users at Troy Beaumont Hospital in the United States are using approximately 15 IR Recognition Systems biometric HandKey readers to positively identify users by the shape and size of their hands to control access to high security areas. Beaumont Hospital, Troy Campus is a 226-bed community and teaching hospital with full inpatient and outpatient services plus a professional office building which houses physicians' private practices and other hospital services. It is ranked among the United States' busiest smaller community hospitals. Its medical staff includes more than 2400 physicians representing more than 91 medical and surgical specialties.

All employees, including doctors, nurses, administrators and housekeeping staff, use the biometric readers. Instead of verifying a card or code, the HandKey reader verifies the person who is at the entrance. Users enter their unique ID number on the HandKey's keypad and present their hands to gain entry. Since implementing the biometric solution, Beaumont Hospital has realised a significant improvement in accountability.

"We wanted a system that would provide a higher level of security to prevent entry by unauthorised individuals," explains Beaumont Hospital's Chris Hengstebeck, director of security and parking and safety officer. "We primarily use hand geometry readers instead of card readers because they provide both high security and ease of access for our physicians."

Biometrics in an extended care facility

In a nursing home, where so many people are in need of daily attention, it is important to make sure that the employees are showing up on time and staying through the end of their shifts. Wen Extended Care Facilities Management Corporation runs nursing homes in the New York City area. The company has 1300 employees, which means a lot of health-care workers coming and going and a real need for an effective tracking system that offers complete accuracy.

To make sure its employees were on-site when they were scheduled to be, Wen Extended Care also invested in hand recognition systems and have installed a total of 14 such systems installed in three locations.

Hundreds of access points at a major medical centre

Over 600 doors at the University of Connecticut Health Center in the US, use standalone, battery-operated electronic access control (EAC) systems. These EAC systems are employed in areas that pose life safety hazards and security issues as well as general building access.

"For instance, these systems are used on the operating room doors, assuring only those that are supposed to be in those suites get in," attests Bruce McPherson, locksmith, University of Connecticut Health Center. "Other locales include, but are not limited to, labs that contain radioactive or similar materials, areas in which drugs and related medical supplies are stored, and locations where critical electrical/mechanical equipment is housed.

For more information contact IR Security and Safety, jeff_koziol@irco.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Koziol is the marketing director - software managed locking systems for IR Security & Safety Electronic Access Control Division.




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