What You Need to Know About Healthcare Access Control April 5th, 2022
Solutions that balance patients’ needs with facility security and data privacy are in demand.
The access control market is booming. Advancements in cloud computing, IT demand for easily configurable and highly secure systems, and consumer familiarity with new technology are some of the top reasons Mordor Intelligence sees the access control market reaching $11.7 billion by 2026, up from $7.65 billion in 2020. Healthcare is one of the markets powering the 7.38 percent combined annual growth rate that Mordor estimates for the sector in the next few years. From hospitals to dialysis centers to nursing homes, many healthcare facilities have a long list of reasons to invest in high-tech healthcare access control systems.
The Benefits of Healthcare Access Control Solutions
Security is critical to running a healthcare practice that gives patients, visitors and employees peace of mind. First, healthcare access control technology helps these facilities stay in step with the industry’s best practices. It offers a way to limit the people who can access certain sensitive areas and prevent unauthorized individuals from meddling with controlled substances and costly equipment. Access control systems also leave a trail of breadcrumbs showing who accessed what and when, ensuring facilities can document these activities for compliance audits.
In addition, healthcare access control systems are gaining popularity as unreliable paper-based admittance logs fall out of favor. Medical facilities need interconnected systems tying together their numerous software platforms and controls, and chronicling entrance and exit data by hand no longer fits the bill.
Healthcare providers must also keep close tabs on patient data and medical records or risk running afoul of health privacy regulations. Finally, there’s the disease control factor to consider. Access control solutions that enable touchless entry limit the spread of bacteria and viruses. Touchless access control prevents infectious germs from spreading without slowing down busy healthcare practitioners and medical facility staff in the process.
Technology that Supports Healthcare Access Control
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to healthcare access control, and providers have a few different options depending on their needs and priorities. These systems can also work in concert to create a robust security ecosystem.
Many facilities and providers prefer the simple convenience of RFID-based smart cards, fobs and badges that can also double as photo IDs for added security. They are easy to clip onto a uniform or lanyard and allow users to move through the building with a swipe or tap. Companies can also program each user’s clearance level, keeping unauthorized people from compromising sterile surgical suites or pilfering prescriptions.
Biometrics-based healthcare access control offers even stronger protections. These systems match each user’s fingerprint, retina or palm print against previously-stored scans, using unique, tough-to-fake biological data to determine who can view sensitive information or get past certain doors. Because this data is specific and inherent to each individual, more providers are looking at how biometrics can help them run a tight ship.
Facilities like hospitals and nursing homes that operate around the clock have additional protection requirements. For example, their security teams often need automated door locks as part of their healthcare access control systems. With these tools in place, they can remotely program building-wide doors and locks to activate at specific times and also use these systems in case of a security incident, like a wandering dementia patient or maternity ward breach, triggers the need to lock down the entire facility.
Healthcare providers must balance access to facilities with the need to safeguard patient well-being and data privacy. VARs and ISVs who understand the nuances of this sector can create tailor-made healthcare access controls that rise to the industry’s unique security challenges.