Quality Time with Decision-Makers: The Cure for Healthcare Access and Security

It’s been amazing to see what the healthcare industry has endured and achieved under overwhelming conditions during the past two-plus years. The tireless dedication, incredible compassion and outstanding care of doctors, nurses and staff everywhere not only deserves our deepest gratitude but also our heartfelt admiration and respect.

The good news is that hospitalizations for COVID-19 are diminishing. The flipside is that occupancy and healthcare activity remain high due to patients seeking treatments and scheduling procedures that they had postponed for conditions that either existed prior to the pandemic or emerged as it ran its course. Caseload levels, however, should return to more typical cycles soon. As they do, healthcare facilities will likely re-focus on solving the access, security, and safety issues that many faced before the outbreak and those they’ve encountered since.

In this issue of Venue, we’ll outline some of those concerns and the ways ASSA ABLOY has helped solve them. We’ll also explore the benefits of standardizing on a single brand and the value of enlisting an expert to help guide the assessment and scope-of-work processes that can lead to the most practical and economical solutions.

Determining which access control products will meet the individual needs of a hospital, offsite clinic, or express care center is an ongoing challenge for the industry. Decision-makers always want to know the specifics of how doors and controls will fit into their environment – from installation and ergonomic operation to aesthetics and efficacy.

Whether it’s the emergency room, a behavioral health ward, diagnostic imaging center, or the ICU, each area has its own precautions and requirements for how doors operate, as well as who needs access where and when. Balancing security with convenience and cost-effectiveness is critical. That’s why it’s worthwhile for healthcare facilities to allot enough time to thoroughly delve into the issues and options with the help of an ASSA ABLOY consultant.

Behavioral Health within the Emergency Department
Lately, we’ve seen a growing need to create designated behavioral health (BH) areas within emergency departments (ED), especially in urban areas where volatile incidents are more likely to occur. Segmented behavioral health rooms in emergency settings provide an extra layer of security and improve sound isolation and privacy, which makes it easier for personnel to maintain focus. The separation also helps reduce stress on patients, family, and visitors.

Creating designated BH spaces inside the ED is a major goal for many facilities. Achieving it will require new buildouts for expansion or retrofitting existing emergency departments. Either way, solutions like electronic access control, attack resistant glass, and ligature-resistant hardware will play a vital role. So will controlled egress solutions, which are also common requirements for dementia, maternity, and dedicated behavioral health wards beyond the ER.

While various medical facilities across a region and the country may have many things in common, each has individualized needs. Fortunately, ASSA ABLOY has developed a comprehensive triage process for identifying and understanding healthcare’s unique security pain points and issues. Involving us as early as possible can help clear the way toward arriving at the best complement of solutions and products.

Another benefit of our discovery process is its impact on spurring innovation and improvements. Unique needs often require a customized approach, which is something ASSA ABLOY’s sales team, product managers and engineers are always ready to take on.

wireless access controlElectronic Access Control, Hands-free Openings, Cabinet Security, and More
Intelligent WiFi and Aperio® real-time wireless access control solutions are among the latest ASSA ABLOY innovations that the healthcare industry began incorporating in recent years. Both technologies provide easy, affordable access control at more doors, without disrupting patient care. Intelligent Keys and eCylinders also offer a great solution for simplifying key control, allowing you to respond quickly to lost or stolen keys or personnel changes without the time and expense of physically rekeying locks. They also offer basic access control functions such as audit trail.

patient room doorDuring the pandemic, we released RiteSlide sliding doors. Adoption in the healthcare industry and other public settings has accelerated, and RiteSlide doors in particular are being requested because of the exceptional privacy and acoustic benefits they provide. In fact, their sound control has been tested to ASTM E90. Along with improved privacy and ergonomic operation, they require a fraction of the footprint of a swinging door and tend to be more aesthetically pleasing.

touchless openingsDemand for touchless and low-touch door openings has also grown over the past two years. ASSA ABLOY already offered arm and foot pull products and fully automatic hands-free actuators before COVID. Ready availability made them easy to acquire and deploy. Solutions include ADA-approved low-touch paddle trim that can open a door with the use of a forearm, elbow or hip and true no-touch automatic door operators that only require a wave of a hand or card credential. Learn more about hands-free solutions in this issue’s Venue Tech Spotlight.

decorative hardwareThe aesthetics of doors, frames and associated hardware have become a higher priority for healthcare settings as well. The impact of design is integral to how people respond to a place; the healing environment is no exception. Fortunately, along with providing a vast array of door security solutions and products, we also offer them in a rich selection of styles to fit in with the surroundings. Check out your options on The Good Design Studio site. We can even customize the look with branding, wayfinding, and other design elements that positively reflect a facility’s attributes.

cabinet lockThe call for cabinet access control has increased, too, especially for healthcare facility pharmacies where accountability, safety, and security are so critical. Access control for server cabinets and file storage has likewise gained more attention.

Life Safety Power integrated power and access control panels have also become must-haves, bringing separate boxes and enclosures from wall mount to rack mount into one system for intelligent monitoring. Using Netlink communication, Life Safety Power provides a holistic view of a facility’s networked solutions, including connected wired and wireless systems as well as a variety of temperature, humidity, airflow, and other sensors, giving managers greater operational and comfort control throughout the facility.

Customized Standardization is Not an Oxymoron
Time is always precious in the healthcare industry, whether you’re a physician, department manager, or administrator. But when it comes to security, it’s essential to find the bandwidth to form a cross functional team that can commit the necessary time to clearly diagnose the issues. After all, the safety and health of patients, medical personnel, staff, and visitors depend on that extra level of commitment and care.

As we’ve been emphasizing, it’s also extremely important to tap into the expertise of ASSA ABLOY partners who can help expedite the process. As experienced consultants, they can provide insight and education on security innovations, trends and alternatives that lead to better-informed decisions. But this needs to happen as early in the planning process as possible, not near the end. With hundreds of door security solution specialists in the US, we have healthcare consultants in every region who are ready to help.

Along with customized consultation, standardizing on ASSA ABLOY’s extensive product line also adds substantial value. Working with one manufacturer provides significant economies of scale for better pricing and consistent quality and support.

At a recent industry roundtable we attended, a representative from a major healthcare facility discussed the importance of having a singular resource with a national network of partners and how that allows them to standardize across multiple locations more efficiently and cost-effectively.

Healthcare leaders worry about every aspect of their facility and its security. They tell us how valuable it is to them to be able to reach out to a solutions expert with a proven knowledge base who can answer their questions reliably. By budgeting the necessary time to allow us to explore their individualized access needs, we can provide the custom care they’re looking for and offer curb-to-core solutions to fit every door that leverage the full breadth of the most comprehensive product line in the industry.