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November 28, 2019

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Acces control

Key management in hospital environments

ASSAABLOY-HospitalKeys-19The stakes are higher when it comes to hospital security. Patients expect and deserve privacy and safety. Yet a hospital building or complex must remain a welcoming and supportive space, around the clock.

Mechanical lock and key technology may be too passive for the modern healthcare environment, but that does not mean you should abandon the familiarity of keys altogether, says ASSA ABLOY.

Programmable electronic key systems put the advantages of sophisticated access control into the form of a traditional key, making it more flexible, more powerful and better equipped to handle the security demands of a busy place. Lost keys and departed employees also become more manageable, because their key’s access rights can be cancelled with a click.

And at multiple secure points around the hospital, the familiarity of a key is welcome to a user group who are not experts — at least, not in access control technology.

Upgrade a key’s IQ

Keys can be as smart as any card-based credential. For example, CLIQ technology from ASSA ABLOY backs up the familiarity and ease of use of key-based locking with the flexible management and real-time security features of an intelligent electronic access system.

A CLIQ locking system consists of battery-powered, programmable keys; cable-free padlocks and cylinders that are said to be easy to retrofit to almost any standard opening; and management software you can run locally or via a secure cloud. All that is needed is a single, programmable key pre-loaded to unlock all authorised openings.

For hospital security managers, a programmable key solution enables you to create personalised access schedules — even for temporary contractors — and collect audit trails for doors or keyholders automatically.

Medicine management

Many hospitals find CLIQ invaluable in managing access to medicines and other controlled substances. Nursing staff using older mechanical key systems can struggle to keep track of who has the right keys, while searching for that person to gain access to drugs wastes precious time. Unauthorized access to drug stores can also, of course, bring serious financial and safety implications.

At Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, pharmacy managers sought a better solution adapted to nurse-accessed medicine stores. They chose a PROTEC2 CLIQ system, which combines mechanical disc cylinders with battery powered, programmable CLIQ keys. Lock electronics are powered by the battery inside every key, so the retrofit was cable-free. CLIQ devices secure doors, cabinets and mobile drug trolleys within the same access system. Security and pharmacy managers can see who opened every lock whenever they want — making medicine audits and incident investigation much easier.

“Programmable key solutions can really boost medicine safety in hospitals,” says Stephan Schulz, CLIQ Product Manager at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions EMEA. “Nurses at Queen Elizabeth, Birmingham, carry their own key with personalised access rights, so they don’t waste time finding out who has the key to every cupboard. Patients benefit.”

“A similar system trialled at Scunthorpe Hospital found the total wasted time eliminated would equate to having an additional 24 nurses on duty across the Trust every day,” Stephan adds.

Software and hardware in harmony

Key-based access solutions are equally comfortable at scale. At University Hospital Frankfurt 1,100 eCLIQ cylinders are being used to secure doors in a new building. A fully electronic implementation of CLIQ technology allows hospital security managers to administer from web-based software.

The CLIQ Web Manager makes it easy to program, reprogram and audit the key, cylinder or padlock. Because the interface is accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, users can manage a CLIQ system wherever it is necessary.

The Web Manager also integrates easily with all kinds of business management software, helping users automate tedious operations and processes. The Web Manager can be one element within an existing access control system, if preferred.

The Web Manager can run in a self-hosted IT environment or completely free of local software installation with two different Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions: Shared SaaS or Dedicated SaaS with hosting just for you and maintenance schedules you set. With either option, security software is always up-to-date — a major benefit in healthcare, where confidentiality makes cyber-attack resistance critical.

Learn more about CLIQ access control and download a free solution guide.

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