Locked Tight Access Control
Michael Cochran, VP of Support Services & Safety Officer at Nix Hospital System, LLC in San Antonio, says he has found the biggest no-brainer on the planet. What is it? Without a doubt, he believes that every single hospital in the country should be using fingerprint biometric access control to lock down their pharmacy. In his mind, it isn’t even a question. He thinks every hospital should have the system he has.
“From a regulatory inspection and audit standpoint, every single physical security question for medications goes away,” Cochran says. “When did pharmacy techs and pharmacists start and end employment? When did you get their key back? When did you change the PIN? It doesn’t matter. As soon as they left, we uncheck the box so they can’t get in. And besides, I know without a doubt when they got in the pharmacy and if they were supposed to be there or not. I have a log. A housekeeper can’t get in. I can’t even get in. I don’t have a finger that will let me! All of these questions go away, and you fly through audits.”
Biometric Lock vs. Key Lock & Punch Lock
Key locks? There are a ton of problems with them, says Cochran. They will never secure medications at hospitals well enough. Without even thinking about it, most locksmiths fit all keys to the master key. So whoever has the master at a hospital will most likely be able to get into the pharmacy. That’s not secure.
Plus, what if someone went to a locksmith and got a duplicate made. It doesn’t matter if it says “Do Not Duplicate.” They can still do it, and half of them will.
And PIN numbers on punch locks? Don’t even get him started. Those can let anybody at all in, and the maintenance to keep changing the codes adds up.
Which only adds up if someone remembers and has the time to change them at all.
Cochran says he can’t take that risk. A hospital is in violation if the change isn’t immediate.
“Fingerprint biometric security closes all loopholes in our medication control system,” says Cochran. “It’s a one-time cost that nobody could convince me isn’t worth it. It might be twice as much as a punch lock, but I never have to worry about medication security. You can’t put a price tag on piece of mind.”
Nix Hospital has worked with security technology integrator United Security Alliance every step of the way for their fingerprint biometric access control system. United Security has handled the design, installation, and maintenance. After a successful first project, United Security expanded their security coverage into a new adolescent healthcare facility Nix opened. A combination of 109 indoor and outdoor IP cameras for video surveillance were installed at that location.
“Whoever I talk to at United Security does what they say they’re going to do, when they say they’re going to do it,” says Cochran. “From sales, to service, to follow up, to clean up. We don’t have to follow behind them. They deliver what they say, even from Florida to Texas. It didn’t have to be a local company. It’s very refreshing in this day and age.”
Source: United Security Alliance