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Across the globe, healthcare providers and facilities from care homes to hospitals and private clinics are working around the clock to reduce the risk to their staff and reduce the spread within their facilities. There are increasing reports in the UK that the virus has devastating effects in care homes, with fears that the US will be next in tow.

The impacts on healthcare staff have also been stark with absence levels growing. In some health bodies across the UK up to almost 20% of their staff are off sick.

The consequences of COVID-19 are clear to see in the short term, but it may also drive the need for technology that will help mitigate against pandemics and the spread of disease in the long term. One of these technologies that offers some promise is long-range RFID. 

The value offered is more than just security and safety

Why long-range RFID? The value offered is more than just security and safety. Implemented correctly, it not only helps minimise the dangers posed to staff and patients, but also helps improve the efficiency and workflow around the facility. Here are 5 reasons long-range access control is part of the solution:

Reduce contact spread of viruses

Most viruses spread through droplets inhaled from someone else’s cough or sneeze. But a common indirect way of infection is germs being passed on when people touch surfaces such as doors, pin pads and handles.

This can lead to the dangerous spread within healthcare facilities as it only takes one infected person to spread the virus to those that touch the same surface. Hence, during the current times of peak capacity, the risk increases. The right long-range access control solution can help minimise the risk by reducing shared contact points.

Integrating vehicle and people access

Long-range RFID is gaining traction as a complete people and vehicle solution. As an ideal solution that automates vehicle access without the need for ticket stations, pin pads or manned gates, members of staff can now go from their doorstep to the room they are required in without having to touch surfaces in order to access the car park and building.

All of this can be done from a card that is transferred from a special holder in your car to a land yard for centrally managed, hands-free access around the facility.

Card readers providing hands-free access around the facility

More efficient building workflow

Time is a precious commodity for medical staff and any time that is wasted on trying to enter the building, search for a badge or entering a PIN should be limited. Once in the building, a long-range electronic ID badge allows automated access around the building without having to present a card to the reader. For more emergency situations, its also common to attach cards to push trolleys, wheelchairs and other heavy equipment to help protect staff and patient safety.

Fight against theft

It’s a sad circumstance that in times of crises, theft is an issue that healthcare facilities have to deal with. Amid global shortages, there have been numerous cases of masks, medical equipment and other supplies being stolen from hospitals.

A modern access control solution using long range readers can help by keeping supplies locked in a dedicated room with access granted only for approved staff ID badges. Whilst also restricting access in staff car parks to only approved staff members.

Proactively manage the flow of staff members in your facility

Access control software offers a unique insight of real-time data

Access control software offers a unique insight of real-time data into key staff members and their movements within the building. This software can then compile the data collected into reports which can help reveal bottlenecks in the flow of staff members around the facility.  

In the case of an emergency, an access system with connections to readers and cameras, can lock / unlock certain doors, or revoke access to particular people in case their badge was stolen.

Whilst we cannot accurately predict what the world will look like post COVID-19, long-range RFID technology could prove to be a powerful tool going forward. It offers solutions that go beyond just security, and helps healthcare facilities build a better future by improving workflow, manage medical equipment, protect patients, staff and visitors from infection and future pandemics.

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