Compared to other access control opportunities, the health-care market has stayed its course the past couple of years. Still, referring to health care as a market might be a misnomer since these facilities can range from a local clinic wanting to secure 10 doors to large urban hospitals spreading across several city blocks. The latter setting can include everything from patient care to laboratory research buildings with integrated systems that bring together access control, alarms and video surveillance.
Nonetheless, these diverse facilities share much in common, from regulatory policies to how you — the integrator — approach them as a potential client. The preparations made prior to making a sales consultation will go a long way in determining who wins the project.
Regulations Can Help You Sell
Health-care facilities have numerous codes and regulations to meet. Having an understanding of these rules will show your end-user prospects you have done all the necessary homework and are capable of helping them. These various sets of laws and mandates will ultimately help you sell the customer on your services and products. Here is a list of organizations that can provide the materials needed to learn about the many regulations common to the health-care market: National Fire Protection Association (NFPA); Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS); The Joint Commission (formally the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations); Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Each of these organizations includes some aspect of security, which will help you leverage your solution. For instance, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations set forth by HHS might help you upscale access control solutions securing the data center and areas where patient files are housed.
Industry specific associations are an excellent way to keep up to speed on both the latest regulations and trends in the health care marketplace. Among the first to become acquainted with is the American Society of Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) and the Int’l Association for Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS). Both organizations have local chapters.
Emphasize Adaptability, Scalability
Health care customers recognize that meeting multiple regulations come at a cost, and rest assured all health care department heads constantly worry about their budgets.
Your prospects are facing mounting pressures of declining reimbursement and a growing uninsured population. Explain how your system will adapt to evolving security plans and processes while better managing cost reduction strategies. Detail for the customer how uncomplicated it will be to add more locks or change credentials, networking options or software options with your solution.
The end user needs to know that controlling access and audit capabilities to security sensitive areas, valuable assets and information can be ensured by providing varying levels of technology at different openings.
Health-care facilities are especially good prospects for wireless access control. With it, they can control disruptions during installation, avoiding the cost, noise, distractions and dust of drilling for a wired network. Limiting the disruption of patient care environments will reduce the measures that need to be taken to lessen, among other factors, the risk of hospital-acquired infections.
Also, demonstrate for them the flexibility of your solution. For instance, emphasize the capability of growing their system over time. They can start small and add more openings as budgets permit. Let them choose which openings should be offline or networked, managing both types of locks with the same software. As a result, they can manage access to more areas of the facility to increase security, and move offline doors to a network solution as needs and budgets dictate.
For example, one of the largest teaching hospitals in the nation began by using online electronic access control to protect valuable assets in the pharmacy department and restrict perimeter access at certain times. This was important to them as the locks provided an audit trail, plus the ability to manage who has access to a particular area and when.
Within months, more locks were on order for additional areas, including equipment storage rooms. Today, locks are also installed on public restrooms in the medical center’s main lobby. The restrooms are used by employees, patients and visitors, but access must be restricted to the public at night. That used to be done manually with mechanical keys. Now, the security administrator simply programs the locks to restrict access to the public at night. Only employees with badges can open the doors to the restrooms at that time.
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