The Health Information Portability and Accounting Act (HIPAA), enacted in 1996, changed the face of security in the medical industry. Medical equipment manufacturers are legally mandated to develop tools, technologies and protocols to protect patients’ medical records in ways that have never existed before. Thus, physical security in medical facilities extends beyond the grounds, buildings and rooms. It includes protecting medical enclosures, cabinets, dispensing carts, charting stations and portable diagnostic equipment. These devices must feature access control systems that meet regulatory requirements, can be networked with the facility’s larger security infrastructure, and ensure simple, intuitive end-user operation.
Replacing traditional key locks, electromechanical locks and latches (EMLs) are the heart of Electronic Access Solutions (EAS). These devices enable quick access to medical equipment while meeting increasingly stringent security requirements.
EMLs enable designers to build intelligent security into the products. The electronic lock creates an electronic signature for user authentication, an audit trail, and reporting capabilities. These features simplify security administration and eliminate opportunities for physical security breaches. Tying EMLs into all or part of an existing security system enables real-time monitoring and an audit trail of access activities.
Electronic access solutions provide an indisputable access audit trail for all doors and cabinets that are secured electronically. Each time the EML-equipped enclosure opens or closes, a signal is sent to a monitoring system to confirm and log access. In addition, EAS records which user credential was used to activate the EML, as well as the time and duration of the event. It also allows access records to be viewed remotely, so monitoring personnel need not be onsite.
Once installed inside the equipment, an electronic rotary latch takes up minimal space. Electronic rotary latches can be connected with a variety of electronic access systems for a complete, remotely managed access control system.
The EA-P3 Proximity Reader produces a standard Wiegand output common to most access control systems and reads HID® 125 kHz 26 bit prox cards. An integrated LED provides visual feedback of card acceptance, and is compatible with existing access control or security systems.
The EA-P1 Proximity/Pin Reader enables keyless entry through a combination keypad proximity card controller and helps to simplify the shift to electronic access. The EA-P1 can be programmed with up to five unique PIN codes and 9,999 prox cards, and includes a relay output that integrates directly with existing electronic locks.
The EA-A06 USB Controller allows the independent, computer-controlled operation of up to 14 different electronic locks or other devices when connected to a standard computer USB port. The EA-A06 simplifies the configuration, operation and monitoring of the electronic devices through a single computer.
Each of these remote access options lets users remotely track and record access to EMLs. These solutions, together with an existing computer system, can provide an audit trail that demonstrates compliance with regulatory requirements such as HIPAA and HITECH. Remote access systems also eliminate physical key management issues such as distribution, storage and replacement of lost keys. Additionally, EAS enables electronic credentials to be easily added or subtracted from the authorized access list.
Filed Under: Design World articles, Medical, Electronics • electrical, Fastening + joining • locks • latches • pins