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Biometrics - Case Studies

Traka Key management system helps to manage key security at Leicester University Hospital
Traka intelligent keyless lockers integrated with key management software at Leicester University Hospital
Traka’s system offers controlled access to hospital keys by swipe card 

The NHS in Leicester has become one of the latest healthcare trusts to install a Traka system to manage its key security. Glenfield Hospital, one of three sites in the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, has invested in two Traka L-Series (180 key) cabinets to replace its previous system.

Located on the edge of Leicester, Glenfield is a specialist Heart and Chest hospital, employing over 3000 staff, and it has all the usual issues of managing access to facilities and equipment in what is effectively, (like most hospitals) open doors to the public 24/7. Everything from Boiler Room, Plant Room, Generator and Electrical Switch Control Room through to access to IT Servers and medical equipment has to be managed. Apart from security, Health and Safety compliance is a major issue; safeguarding that staff (and visitors) can only gain access to the facilities, equipment, rooms, drugs, medicines and even vehicles that they are authorised to use.

The previous system used by the hospital was unreliable and gave little data on users, often simply reporting that an ‘unknown user’ had accessed a key. With hospital keys giving access, not just to areas within the hospital, but also to valuable portable equipment and medicines, it is vital for keys to be managed efficiently and for data to be accurate.

Peter Summers is Training, Quality and Waste Manager at Glenfield Hospital. Asked why Traka had been chosen, Peter explained, “We have significant confidence in the equipment reliability. It was not the cheapest solution, but the flexibility and software features are excellent, very user friendly. It gives us huge potential and the possibility to extend Traka to the other hospitals within the Trust. Not just for managing keys but also portable equipment such as security radios, attack alarms, laptops and for managing medical instruments too, using Traka intelligent keyless lockers, all seamlessly integrated with the key management software”

Traka’s system offers controlled access to hospital keys by swipe card – for medical and administrative staff this is their ID card (in this instance – but it could equally well be PIN code or even biometric reader in highly secure environments). Traka then provides for further control of key permissions such as restrictions on specific keys that an individual can access; or 2nd and 3rd level key authorisation for access to critical areas; time limits and curfew functions (for example for catering staff or cleaning staff on restricted hours), even the booking out of keys in advance to ensure that a facility is kept available. Glenfield has implemented an email warning and back-up for situations when staff forget their cards and need to gain access to cabinets via a security guard. With both email and SMS text warnings available, if keys are not returned by a designated time, full control of user activity and key transactions are easily available. A ‘chain of command’ for key management ensures that only the appropriate staff have access to particular keys, right up to the hospital’s electrical sub - station, which is accessible by just four people, thus complying with necessary legislation.

Traka system offers the ability to control access hospital vehicles
Leicester NHS Trust deployed the Traka L-Series 180 key cabinets to replace its previous system

The Traka system offers a whole range of features that the hospital has still to implement: the ability to control access to hospital vehicles is one of these. One key currently fits all ten electrical towing trucks at Glenfield, making it impossible to know who is or has been driving any particular truck. The hospital plans to introduce a ‘one key per truck’ system, controlled by Traka iFobs, each of which contains a chip giving the key a unique electronic ID. This electronic tagging enables each user to be individually audited. The hospital also plans to use Traka’s ability to log faults and schedule maintenance and servicing of vehicles and equipment.

Peter Summers is amazed at the difference the Traka system has made: “Traka is much more user-friendly than our old system – if we had any problems with that, we had to ring a helpline in the US! With the Traka team we have confidence that, if there are any problems, they will resolve them quickly and they always ring us back! The installation of the cabinets and software was trouble-free and the subsequent back-up has been first-class. I would say the Traka system offers real value for money and certainly helps us comply with current legislation.” Based on the success of the system, the Trust plans to rewrite the key policy, with the possibility of extending the Traka system.

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust includes Glenfield Hospital, Leicester General Hospital and Leicester Royal Infirmary. One of the largest and busiest teaching trusts in England, it employs around 12,000 staff and provides services for people across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

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