Physical key control and management systems are fundamental security technologies for controlling perimeter doors effectivelyand doors within facilities

Key control technology and guard tour systems provide a ready-made solution for healthcare organisations to enhance their security & asset management protocols

Morse Watchmans, a leading provider of key management solutions explains how to provide top-notch security and manage asset with a combination of key control systems, asset lockers and guard tour systems.

The shift from manpower resources to technology as a main line of defence is having a significant impact on an organisation’s physical security strategy, and nowhere is this more true than in the medical/healthcare industry. From video surveillance to access control to video management systems, technology solutions are playing an increasingly important role in keeping our hospitals safe for patients, staff and visitors.

Along with these physical security systems, a combination of key control technology and guard tour systems provides a ready-made solution for healthcare organisations to enhance their security and asset management protocols. The following three examples illustrate how this is achieved.

Key control and management systems

Regardless of the size or type of medical facility, a physical key control and management system is a fundamental security technology for controlling perimeter doors and those throughout the facility.

The systems are a custom-tailored solution designed to record the access history of each key, including user, date and time of check-out/return information. By releasing assigned keys only to users with the proper authorisation code, the system helps to ensure adherence to the hospital industry standardised policies and procedures. In addition, by securing keys in a tamper proof key cabinet, the facility can meet the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organisations (JCAHO) standards for performance, which state, “the hospital controls access to and egress from security-sensitive areas.”

User-friendly PC application software can complement the system and deliver real-time polling transactions, status, alarm and reporting capabilities. Activity reports can be customised to trace key movements by time, date and user code or biometric access data. Technology developments and new products have also made it possible to integrate key control as part of a facility's networked security system. Open protocols enable connectivity to access control and other systems via RS-232 or networked via Ethernet to enable a comprehensive integrated security system.

Key control solutions can be customised to record access history of keys and lockers, and to only assign keys to authorised users
Asset lockers can be used to store employees’ personal items, medical devices and equipment, medicine, lab results and items deemed a safety risk

Asset lockers for storage and safekeeping

 Medical devices, radios, cell phones, hand-held computers and other equipment used by different personnel through the course of any given day represent potential security breaches if stolen or misplaced. Test material or data from research labs must also be secured when not in use, and accessed by authorised users only. Even weapons that may have been confiscated from ER patients are potential safety risks if not properly secured. To accommodate these everyday situations, asset lockers that are part of a key control system can provide the necessary storage and safekeeping of these items.

 Access devices, such as magnetic cards or proximity devices, can also be secured in the specially designed asset lockers and used in any combination with standard key or locker modules. Using minimal wall space, the locker cabinets can eliminate outdated lock boxes, unreliable manual logs and messy identification tags. Typically constructed of rugged stainless steel, the systems are designed to resist abuse and are alarm-protected against tampering.

Guard tour systems for secure perimeters and incident reports

 Automated guard tour systems are tools that security personnel can use to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively, while helping to visibly reassure hospital staff that the premises are secure. Stations are set up around the facility and, as the security guard walks by with the handheld device, the system reads and records when it was there. The device can be programmed to prompt either sequential or random tours for the officers, and the officer can enter a standardised code at any station to report an incident or potential risk, such as ice on a walkway or a broken light fixture. In a medical environment, this can be a tremendous benefit to help counter liability issues.

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