Making Healthcare Safe and Secure

May 3, 2021
Locksmiths have more choices than ever before to consider when tackling a facility’s requirements.

The healthcare market encompasses many types of facilities, presents several advantages and challenges and can provide a significant revenue stream for locksmiths.

Several types of healthcare facilities, such as clinics and medical offices, hospitals and urgent-care centers, have similar requirements. The differentiators are the services rendered and the demographics of the clients, but they all have a lot in common.

Indeed, the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and our country’s shifting demographic bring to bear many issues on administrators to address new challenges for facilities and the security industry to provide a broader range of products and services.

“Technology is a critical component to providing security to large, public facilities with multiple access points and typically are open 24/7/365,” says Darren Blankenship, associate vice president of vertical-market development at dormakaba. He notes visitor-management systems, electronic lockdown from a central location, radio-frequency ID tracking and audit reporting, and electronic access control as now essential components to protecting people and property in a healthcare setting.

However, there also is a new awareness of health vulnerabilities and how survival has become a personal matter.

The healthcare market is many things:

Essential: They will try, but there will never be an app that can replace all of the necessary services rendered by healthcare.

Competitive: As an element of being one of the single largest industries in the United States, vendors are firmly ensconced in providing the specialized hardware and systems in demand by healthcare, but the market is growing, and it’s rich with potential for new entrants.

Urgent: When someone requires treatment, it often is time-based. When a healthcare device or system fails, getting it fixed typically is a high priority.

Stressful: Besides the pressures resulting from working in a competitive business, where the demands are urgent and the services are essential, the door you work on is in constant use by patients, staff and first responders who have to transgress. Another element to this is you might be parked where an ambulance has to park, or the clinic in which you work houses individuals who have to be prevented from leaving into the great unknown.

Dangerous: Besides the fact that you might be in a confined space with what could be an elevated viral load, realize that there might be individuals under treatment whose behavior can’t always be predicted, and there might be chemicals and substances that are explosive, hazardous or coveted by those who have addictions.

I always felt the activities I performed in healthcare facilities were meaningful, and, hopefully, my efforts supported the healthcare providers in some way, perhaps small, in saving lives.

Skillfully specifying, installing and servicing hardware for healthcare is a serious, meaningful and profitable business. Here are a few products to consider in this new age.

HES K100

The HES K100 Series Wireless Cabinet Lock is suited for healthcare applications, such as controlled-substance cabinets, supply storage, nurse cabinets or carts and more.

The HES K100 has ASSA ABLOY’s Aperio technology, so it can connect with a facility’s electronic access control solution. It’s meant for use with swinging and sliding cabinet doors and drawers that have a door thickness of up to 2-1/4 inches. The lock comes standard with locked-state and tamper monitoring, optional mechanical key override and more than 150 pounds of holding force.

It uses local 2.4-gigahertz wireless communication between the lock and an Aperio hub to bring access control to cabinet doors and drawers where audit trail and real-time monitoring are required.

More info:

Von Duprin CHEXIT

Behavioral-health and memory-care areas of healthcare facilities are faced with unique challenges to protect occupants. As such, they have to balance life safety with concerns that patients might leave the premises unsupervised.

The Von Duprin CHEXIT is a solution for controlled or delayed egress to help to keep these patients safe. (It also is suitable for maternity wards to prevent abduction.)

The standard CHEXIT device sounds an alarm and keeps a door secured for 15 seconds following an exit attempt. Numerous configurable settings allow the CHEXIT to be customized based on specific application or code requirements, and it allows for immediate release in the case of a fire alarm.

The improved design of the CHEXIT makes installation and maintenance easier, and it’s available on all Von Duprin 98/99, XP98/99 and 33A/35A series exit devices. Its motor-driven blocking actuator provides quiet and energy-efficient operation, and it has a trim actuator or input for an outside trim connection that provides selectable fail-safe or fail-secure settings.

More info:

STI Double-Gang NoTouch Button

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the public to rethink safe living and adopt better hygienic practices. Contaminated surfaces are one of the key sources of virus transmission, which makes everyone increasingly cautious of touch points.

STI’s new double-gang NoTouch Stainless Steel Button helps to eliminate the spread of germs in hospitals, clinics and labs, among other locations. To exit or enter a building without touching the door, a user simply waves their hand in front of the touchless button. The infrared technology detects the motion and unlatches the time-adjustable door.

The NoTouch IR switch is constructed of medical-grade 304 stainless steel and has a Form “C” dry contact, at 0.5 amps at 120VAC or 1 amp at 24VDC. It has an integrated adjustable timer of 0.5–20 seconds, dual color-status LED (green/red or red/green) and a 1.5–6-inch detection range. The button is available with the following operating instruction options: OPEN, EXIT or a door symbol.

More info:

dormakaba QDC300 Series

“Access control solutions play an important role in supporting hospital operations, staff needs and patient management,” Blankenship says. However, not all solutions have to be electronic.

The QDC300 Series of standard-duty door closers were engineered with high-performance materials and construction, but in a smaller body. The smaller, narrower footprint of the QDC300 means that you can put these on even the narrowest top-rail doors.

“It’s important to be able to control who has access to areas in and around medical centers and hospitals,” Blankenship adds. “Door closers are designed to meet the functional and visual goals of today’s healthcare buildings.”

The QDC300 Series includes many premium design components standard, and with a wide range of available options and customizable features, it provides flexible value without compromising quality. All dormakaba closers are adjustable to Size 1 to comply with barrier-free requirements. Closers can be used with aluminum, wood or hollow metal doors and frames.

More info:

dormakaba MAGNEO Entrance System

The MAGNEO is a sliding entrance system powered by linear magnetic-drive technology and designed for any modern interior. Innovative magnetic technology ensures that the MAGNEO is safe, reliable, whisper-quiet and resistant to wear.

“Automatic sliding-door operators create easy hands-free access that supports safe, hygienic and secure environments,” Blankenship says. He adds that the doors are tested for 1 million cycles in harsh weather and that they’re suited for retrofits as well as new construction.

Opening widths of up to 44 inches are supported.

More info:

CompX eLock Refrigerator Lock

The CompX eLock Series is a keyless, network-ready temperature-monitoring lock for refrigerators or freezers aimed at pharmaceutical storage. The eLock eliminates manual temperature logging, prevents human error and automatically records temperature at programmed intervals. All data history is archived and easily accessible.

The eLock records up to 500,000 temperature data points and provides a comprehensive audit trail of the last 15,000 access attempts, including date, time and user name, which can be viewed through LockView 5 software.

The eLock unit, battery pack and latch are enclosed in a housing that mounts directly onto the appliance door. The strike plate is mounted on the top or side of the appliance and supplies a secure latching point for the latch. The motorized spring-loaded latch provides the convenience of automatic relocking.

The eLock is powered by 6 AA batteries (a 9-volt wall adaptor port is available), and all eLocks have nonvolatile memory, which ensures that all users, temperature logs, audit trails and other programmed features aren’t lost because of a loss of power.

More info:

Optiview IP6F

The IP6F panoramic IP camera from Optiview provides 360-degree video surveillance, which is useful in healthcare settings. Video records in the native fisheye view, but users are able to manipulate the video feed in live view and playback to watch video in up to six different dewarp modes.

Dewarp for the IP6F is supported through a web browser and the Optiview Mobile App. For dewarp at the recorder, the cameras must be paired with one of Optiview’s Intelligent series network video recorders (NVR).

Gary Bibeau, director of sales at Optiview, notes the many options for viewing video. “My favorite is the nine-window [setup] with the native camera view in the center.” 

He says that if you wanted to install the camera, say, in a hallway in a nursing home and set up alarms for the nurses if someone left their room, that application could be handled. How? The cameras could be mounted to the ceiling, a wall or even a countertop, Bibeau says. The camera then could be told how it’s positioned during setup, and it has a built-in “tripwire.”

“Once a person crosses over the virtual tripwire, an email or text can be sent to a person to monitor the video,” he says. The video then is viewable over a smartphone, live or in playback mode, either in native video or dewarp.

In addition, you can record to the edge with the addition of an up to a 256GB memory card. Optiview fisheye cameras support heat mapping, which records and tracks how much pixel change occurs within view to create hot areas (a lot of movement) or cold areas (little to no movement).

More info:

Tim O’Leary is an experienced security consultant and a regular contributor to Locksmith Ledger.

About the Author

Tim O'Leary

Tim O'Leary is a security consultant, trainer and technician who has also been writing articles on all areas of locksmithing & physical security for many years.