Doctor speaking to nurse in healthcare center

Don’t let security be an ailment of your healthcare facility

Keep your patients, staff and equipment safe with entrance control

In the November 2022 budget, chancellor Jeremy Hunt allocated £12 billion to the Department of Health and Social Care for capital spending in 2022-23. Construction-sector analysts Glenigan looked in detail at hospital projects that had secured planning consent, comparing the year to September 2022 with the previous 12-month period. Total spending was up 37%, with the government planning to build or renovate 40 hospitals over the next few years.

One thing that each of these facilities will need to have in place from the day they open or reopen their doors, is a system to control the movement of people through their site. Due to the range of factors requiring consideration, securing healthcare facilities – be that hospitals, residential care homes, doctor’s surgeries or private clinics – presents a unique set of challenges. They are fairly open spaces, with a large number of people passing through the premises each day, including patients, visitors, third-party contractors, permanent staff, and locums, all requiring varying levels of access to different areas of the building.

A new kind of security solution for old problems

Increasingly, hospital administrators are realising that modern access and entrance control technology is evolving in a direction of flexibility, and detailed awareness that is well suited to solving these complex access problems. Systems are being used throughout a building, managing visitors as well as staff, to ensure that access to restricted areas is only granted to authorised people.

Certainly, healthcare facilities have a huge responsibility to keep all of these people safe, not to mention the need to prevent the theft of highly valuable equipment, confidential sensitive personal information held in patient records, possessions of staff and patients, controlled drugs, and other pharmaceuticals. Being able to prevent unauthorised access, and to monitor and control who does have access to certain areas of a building, is crucial.

The role of entrance control and access control in securing healthcare facilities

Having visible security measures in place, such as security guards located at main entrances and exits, acts as a good deterrent. We have written in detail about the complementary roles of security staff and security systems. But, in order to physically restrict access to a building or designated area within a building, an entrance control barrier is required, as well as an access control system. To prevent the various types of unauthorised access and for optimum security, the two should be integrated and work together.

Access control is a term used to describe a system that performs identification of users and authentication of their credentials – their face, fingerprints, PIN number, key card etc – deciding whether or not the bearer of those credentials is permitted admission. Entrance control is the system that enforces that decision, by either opening a barrier (which could be a turnstile or door) to allow users to gain access, or remaining closed to bar entry and potentially raising an alarm. You can read more about the difference between access control and entrance control here.

Some staff will be allowed access to areas others won’t be, for example, the pharmacy. If you have an ID card system, these should be worn by staff at all times so that they can be easily identified. They can also serve as their access credentials, with permissions assigned via the access control system.

Door Detective – the antidote to unauthorised access

Door-Detective-Plus_Hero-1Access to a door can be controlled by fitting an electronic lock and a card reader but, the moment the door is open, you lose control over who, or how many people, pass through it. Operating seamlessly with both pedestrian access control and building management systems, IDL’s Door Detective provides a superior level of security and detection by monitoring the throughput of access-controlled doorways, corridors, and passageways. It ensures that the ‘one person, one door access’ rule is met, monitoring the number of people passing through an access-controlled doorway and in which direction. Alarms identify violations to alert staff and when integrated with Fastlane FastCount, real-time building population data can be viewed so you can see how many people are in areas of the building at any given moment.

As well as preventing drug theft and safeguarding valuable equipment, this additional level of security helps patients to feel safe and comfortable during treatment and recovery, and can be used to monitor and control access to departments with particularly vulnerable patients – such as maternity or children’s wards – and helps healthcare providers to feel confident that they can provide medical care in a secure environment.

Train your staff in security protocol

You might have a robust, fit-for-purpose security system in place but, if your staff don’t understand its importance and aren’t clear on your security protocols, they could leave your facility exposed unknowingly.

Training of permanent staff and locums should cover things like the reasons why security measures are in place, the possible implications of unauthorised entries, how to spot possible cases of unauthorised entry, and how to strictly follow and enforce the security policy. This will equip them with knowledge of how to deal with any situations which arise and prevent them from unwittingly colluding with an intruder.

Adding value through integrations

Entrance control solutions are no longer separate from other security and non-security systems. Crucially, Door Detective and Fastlane turnstiles have the capability to integrate with all known security and building management systems – such as fire control, CCTV and intruder detection systems, time, attendance and staff volume monitoring, HVAC, and more – bringing a range of benefits to both the building owners/managers and users. You can read more about product integrations here.

It’s important to remember that every environment is unique, and no two healthcare facilities are the same, therefore a tailored physical security strategy should be developed. If you’d like to discuss your entrance control requirements or arrange a visit to our demo suite at our head office in West London for a live demonstration of our range of entrance control products, please contact our team on +44 (0)20 8890 5550 or email