Cabinet locks secure pharmaceutical supplies

Securing pharmaceutical supplies is a paramount concern at Dixie Regional Medical Center.

The 245-bed hospital in St. George, Utah is the major medical referral center for northwestern Arizona, southeastern Nevada and southern Utah. To improve their ability to safeguard prescription medication while maintaining compliance with regulations enforced by the state of Utah, the center recently deployed an upgraded security solution utilizing HES K100 Aperio® wireless cabinet locks.

In its operating rooms, Dixie Regional Medical Center uses a number of rolling carts stocked with surgical equipment and medications. One drawer in each cart was designated for storing narcotics. Until recently, they were secured using two locks on each drawer.

“Requiring staff members to carry two keys and to unlock two locks wasn’t the best solution,” said Matt Tebbs, facility manager and security systems engineer at Dixie Regional. “More importantly, we wanted to upgrade to a system that would give us real-time electronic access control and auditing capability, with locks that employees could operate using their badges.”

Tebbs contacted Dave Porter of West Valley, Utah-based AlpaCorp, Inc., who came to the facility with local ASSA ABLOY Integrated Solutions Specialist Jacob Hauzen to conduct an on-site evaluation. Porter felt that the K100 Aperio wireless cabinet lock would be ideal for the application. The K100 is a wireless access control lock that can be easily linked to an existing or new electronic access control system. It is compatible with a facility’s credentials and ID badges and supports HID® 125kHz Prox or 13.56 MHz iCLASS® contactless credentials.

Around the same time, the manager of the operating room approached Tebbs with the idea of adapting off-the-shelf tool cabinets to replace the rolling carts. Tebbs likedthe idea; however, the cabinets would need to have an extra lock added to them.

Porter and Hauzen determined this could be readily done. They installed a K100 Aperio wireless lock on the first cabinet and paired it with an Aperio hub that is wired to the existing access control panel. “It worked perfectly,” Tebbs noted. “Once we had the basics figured out, we made up an easy to follow template that could be used to install the rest of the locks.” Tebbs and his crew installed the K100 on 19 cabinets used in Dixie Regional’s operating rooms.

“The OR [operating room] surgeons and anesthesiologists are using the K100-equipped cabinets now and really like them,” said Tebbs. “We’ve had the K100 in place for around three months and they’ve been working perfectly.”

“The best benefit for me is the operating system that configures the K100 is the same access control system we already had in place,” he continued. “It’s easy to add and take away users. We didn’t have to bother with any additional keys or going through the time and expense of installing another access control system. We also configured the system to send an alert when any of the K100 batteries run low, so we can replace them and be assured that all the locks are online, all the time.”

“The medical industry is seeing the opportunities theK100 can provide to bring access control easily to areas of the facility that hadn’t previously been though tpossible,” said Hauzen. “We provide products that fit a certain need and, as in the case of Dixie Regional MedicalCenter, sometimes all it takes is a little creativity on the customer’s part and ours to deploy them.”

“This installation worked out even better than we thought it would,” concluded Hauzen. Tebbs added, “We came in under budget for the expenses we had allotted for the new carts, and implemented a system that is not only cost-effective, but makes it far easier and more effectivefor us to dispense the drugs and control and account for their distribution.”