Meeting the access control challenge in hospitals

Aintree, Liverpool

Hospitals present a complex security challenge.

As part of a £35 million refurbishment of A&E and other urgent care services, Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool, England, chose an Aperio wireless locking solution from Assa Abloy when it recently sought an upgrade to its access control system.

The trust needed flexible access control to streamline day-to-day security operations, extending public access while also maintaining restrictions to sensitive areas. They wanted a cost-effective, wire-free system, so installation could be done quickly and efficiently, without disrupting the day-to-day work of the hospital. Assa Abloy partnered with Grantfen and Inner Range to deliver a unified platform, which extended the Integriti access control system with Assa Abloy’s Aperio wireless escutcheons.

Hospitals present a complex security challenge. They should always be welcoming public spaces and yet also have many sensitive assets that need securing around the clock.

Key assets include patients, doctors, nurses and support staff, of course. The protection of drugs and confidential patient data is critical. In labs, sensitive — even dangerous — research or testing materials demand constant monitoring. Valuable lab equipment is, unfortunately, a target for theft and vandalism.

Then there are the extra logistical challenges. Hospitals are often large and spread out, and locks may need to integrate with fire detection, CCTV and other security systems. Not all site users are created equal: medical staff, cleaners, patients and their visitors, and countless temporary and contract workers, all need access tailored to their specific and very different needs. Labs with a steady flow of visitors and contractors are safer if access is managed with time-limited “keys” that can be revoked or revalidated when required. In case of any security breach, a thorough investigation is essential. In fact, it is often mandated for regulatory compliance.

Aperio gives doctors and nurses controlled access tailored to their shift patterns or working hours. Facility managers have real-time status information about their premises, with online or offline integration protecting wards, clinics and management offices. Audit trails for sensitive areas — like labs and rooms where drugs or medical records are kept — are available on demand. And hospital managers can extend access control to new buildings, or bring monitoring to more areas as and when required, without breaking the bank.

Cutting the wires is potentially the key to upgraded, cost-effective hospital security.


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