Hospital Security –This time you get to play “Doctor”

Approach any hospital security project with the understanding that you will be a participant in saving lives.

Just as in any survey, you'll need to learn the environment. How does the place run? What level of inconvenience will be acceptable when a new security protocol is put into effect?

You'll need to ask the hospital representatives to define the scope of the project and if an overall security plan is in place. How do the doors and locks fit into the plan? Who is in charge of the keying system? Who maintains the access control system? Is there an outside systems integrator involved?

Most hospitals have multiple buildings or, at the very least, different departments or specialties. How do they interact? How will this affect the keying system?

Look at the age of the building. Will you still be dealing with originally installed mechanical door locks? If so, is adding electrified locking part of the scope of work? Are the doors and frames fire-rated? If so, what will be the preferred method for adding electric locking to the combination of doors which might include cylindrical locks, mortise locks and all different types of exit devices?

How familiar is senior management with different types of electric locking? Will they require a product presentation to understand the different electric locking choices and different operating methods? Will users be involved in choosing product, or will this be the decision of the security consultant, facility managers, engineers, architect or any combination of the above?

Bear in mind that those involved in the decision will not have your base of knowledge and will not immediately understand the operating and installation differences between the different electric locking solutions. More importantly, they will need to have all the ramifications of a particular choice explained to them.

For example, everyone will want a key override for use in emergency. How will they react when a doctor uses his key for entry instead of the card access system? Will they accept a “forced door” entry and alarm or would they prefer an electric locking solution which gives them a separate and distinct key usage signal when a key is used?

You will also need to understand the facility's lockshop and manpower before offering a proposal. Will they implement the solution, supervise it or maintain it after the installation is complete? Do they expect you to provide training? How important is uniformity of product and minimal replacement parts in the solution?

This article can only lead you with some of the questions you will need to consider. The answers will become clear as you conduct the survey. Remember to organize your information in a clear and coherent way.

If you would like any spreadsheet files used to conduct a survey and present the information, please contact the author.

Mark Berger is president of Securitech Group, Inc., chair of the Door Safety Council and a member of the Locksmith Ledger and Doors & Hardware editorial boards. In his spare time, he advises NASA on jet propulsion. He can be reached at or 718.392.9000.


1. One of the hardest exit devices to integrate into an access control system

2. Removing the lock-side panel exposes an area where a retrofit REX kit can be mounted.

3. The existing pull handle cannot be used when adding electric release.

4. Many people either add a maglock and disable the exit device – almost always a code violation – or disable the exit device and add a rim device on the door.

5. Information technology systems. Medical records must be carefully protected in accordance with federal regulations.

6. For access to the computers behind this door, a biometric reader is employed.

7. Electrically released trim can be added to exit devices, mortise lock and cylindrical locks for easy access control integration

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