LL Notes from the Editor eNL - Feb 15th, 2023
LL Notes from the Editor eNL | View online
February 15, 2023
Healthcare Security: An Inside Look

I have spent too much time in two large metro Atlanta hospitals in the last few months (dealing with an elderly family member), so this month’s Locksmith Ledger cover focus, Healthcare Security, hits home.

Because of my job, I notice the door hardware and access control everywhere. While touchless openings get all the glory, they are still few and far between – at least for openings that the public can access. The only touchless opening between the parking lot and patient rooms is the automatic door at the main lobby entry, where visitors check in and get a nametag with the room number written in. Then they are free to roam the halls.

The entrance from the emergency room lobby to the ER treatment area was especially problematic. Signage said to “wave to open” and wait a few seconds for the door to swing open, but it failed to release. The busy nurses had to use their badges to open the door every time a family member wanted access.

These facilities have been through a war, and it shows, despite facility management’s best efforts to keep it all together and operational. Like everyone else, even the largest facilities are likely understaffed, so now may be the perfect time to get your foot in the door. Your expertise is badly needed.

Things I noticed:

  • Badges are still the credential of choice for employees, though smartphones are also being used in a much more limited capacity.
  • Mobile nurses’ stations are equipped with barcode scanners, and patients’ wristbands are scanned before the drug cabinets can be opened. Medication is then scanned to verify the dosage for each patient.
  • Double doors leading to restricted areas like the intensive care unit and surgery rooms do open automatically when medical personnel scan their badges. But almost every other opening requires physical contact. Occupancy indicators were spinning and inoperable.
  • Most hospital offices and supply rooms without high-value goods have electronic pushbutton locks. A few have mechanical interchangeable cores.
  • Parking gates are the bane of the hospital security force’s existence, though I was glad to see the gates stuck open for a long weekend, saving me the exhorbitant daily parking fee.

Our February cover feature, Healthcare Security: Think Big When Going Small, contains some valuable advice for winning business at large hospitals and the many smaller medical offices that are less likely to employ in-house locksmiths. Our roundtable article, Healthcare After Covid, looked at the lasting impact of COVID-19, RSV and this winter’s flu. Manufacturers have rushed to bring additional touchless options to the market and advocate adding electronic access control to more openings. Locksmiths and their healthcare customers are looking for scalable EAC that can grow and adapt as their needs change and budgets allow. Also on the healthcare front, Concealed Egress 101 stressed code compliance.

Emily Pike

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