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Healthcare Facilities Turn Increasingly to eCylinders to Reduce Liability
Date:4/20/2010

Traditional locks alone can’t track access or identify patterns of abuse with regard to patient records, controlled substances.

Salem, VA (PRWEB) April 20, 2010 -- Healthcare facilities increasingly are choosing eCylinders, also known as electronic or digital lock cylinders, and digital keys to protect patient data and controlled substances, and to satisfy regulatory requirements.   

“We use two Logic eCylinders on the door to our controlled substances dispensary,” says Dr. Lawrence Bentvena of the Mid County Rehab Clinic in Lantana, Fla. “From a regulatory standpoint, this system removes a lot of the question as to who has access.”

Mid County installed two eCylinders on the opening so that the door could function as a Dutch door – with the options of opening the door’s top only, or opening the whole door. Dr. Bentvena also specified two keys – one of which is programmed to allow access only during business hours and the other which is a 24-hour key that he holds.

“It’s foolproof security, as near as we can figure,” Bentvena adds.

eCylinders’ appeal, aside from serving as a physical barrier preventing unauthorized access to secure areas, is the data the locks can provide – a security feature that’s an increasingly important tool in regulating access because it can identify both suspicious access trends and attempts to gain unauthorized access.

“A lock’s primary function, whether it’s a mechanical lock or a digital lock, is obviously to control who can access something,” says Tom Kaika, President of Medeco High Security Locks. “eCylinders accomplish this function, but with the added benefit of tracking who is accessing or attempting to access asset storage areas, when they’re doing it, and how frequently. That data is indispensable in identifying and stopping patterns of abuse or attempted access before it’s too late.”

Medeco High Security Locks is seeing an increased demand from healthcare facilities for its eCylinder security products, including the company’s Hybrid, Logic and NEXGEN XT cylinders in part because these digital lock cylinders and digital keys are a cost-effective solution to healthcare facility security and access tracking and control.

“eCylinders’ benefits are extensive,” Kaika agrees, “including that they look much like a traditional lock and key, they retrofit into existing hardware without the need for wiring or electrical power, the key can be quickly programmed to work or not work on any cylinder, and lost keys can be electronically deleted from the system. Additionally, eCylinders retrofit into cabinet, ratchet, and padlocks, helping manage loss and liability on drug cabinets, perimeter storage, and other non-door openings.

“They are a practical and cost-effective solution for the increasingly complex security environments healthcare facilities face today,” Kaika adds.

Traditional security measures at healthcare facilities historically had an acceptable track record of protecting assets. However, the increased incidence of fraudulently obtained patient data, medication diversions, and other crimes demand an equally commensurate security response – one that not only prevents theft, but also helps satisfy U.S. government security requirements and those established by healthcare industry rating entities, including HIPAA and The Joint Commission, respectively. Additionally, 2009’s Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) – which is sometimes referred to informally as “HIPPA II” – levels tougher security requirements and penalties for security breaches to patients’ electronic records.

The Federal Government, for example, in its Code of Federal Regulations, also specifically cites the need for managing access to controlled substances with effective controls, procedures and specific key control which limits access to a number of employees.

The Government’s and healthcare industry’s continued focus on security requirements at healthcare facilities and businesses makes security an ever-present and growing concern for providers, and reaffirms the growing belief that traditional mechanical masterkey systems can’t offer the level of protection, flexibility and data needed to control access today. Instead, a viable, cost-effective solution to access control lies in combining both mechanical and electronic door locking systems’ best attributes and features into one system.

Founded in 1968 and based in Salem, Va., Medeco is a market leader in locks and locking systems for security, safety, and control. The company's customer base includes wholesale and retail security providers, original equipment manufacturers, institutional, commercial, industrial, and residential end-users.

The ASSA ABLOY Group is the world's leading manufacturer and supplier of locking solutions, dedicated to satisfying end-user needs for security, safety and convenience. The Group has about 30,000 employees and annual sales of around EUR 3 Billion (3.9 Billion USD).

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