Locksmithing for hospitals is different from any other type of locksmith work. The size of hospitals, number of people in them, complexity of their lockings systems and numerous regulations (not to mention the life-and-death situations that take place) surpass what’s involved with most other kinds of locksmith work.
Sometimes, people outside the locksmith industry don’t realize all that managing a hospital’s lock system requires. If you’re tasked with finding or working with a locksmith to manage a hospital’s lock system, here are some thoughts on what’s involved from locksmiths’ perspectives.
Hospital Locksmiths Specialize in Institutional Work
Installing and overseeing a hospital’s lock system is much different from both residential and commercial locksmith work. Instead, it falls under the umbrella of institutional locksmithing, which encompasses work done for schools, government buildings, healthcare organizations and similar institutions.
If you’re looking for a locksmith to set up or manage your hospital’s locks, don’t settle for a commercial locksmith. Look for an institutional locksmith, and preferably one who has experience working with other hospitals.
Qualified Locksmiths Know Many of the Relevant Regulations
A qualified institutional locksmith who’s worked with other hospitals will know many of the regulations that govern or impact lock systems in hospitals. For example, a locksmith should be familiar with regulations set forth by the following:
- The Joint Commission (which impacts controlling access and keying systems in hospitals)
- Homeland Security (which impacts controlling access to radioactive material)
- The Board of Pharmacy (which impacts controlling access to pharmaceuticals)
- The National Fire Protection Association (which has life safety requirements)
- Any state agency that oversees hospitals’ lock systems
While you’ll likely want to either be or become familiar with these regulations yourself, knowing that a locksmith is already aware of them is a great help. They’ll make sure your hospital’s system meets all applicable regulations, and they can help you quickly learn about the ones that are relevant to your hospital’s situation.
Locksmiths Aren’t Experts on HIPAA Regulations
Although qualified locksmiths are well acquainted with the applicable regulations set for by agencies like those listed above, locksmiths aren’t necessarily experts on HIPAA requirements. They frequently have a general appreciation for HIPAA regulations, but locksmiths don’t normally study the precise rules the act put in place.
If any HIPAA issues arise as you design an access control system, you’ll want to make them known to the locksmith you’re working with. They’ll be able to work with you to create a viable (and legal) solution.
Qualified Locksmiths Recommend Solutions
Qualified locksmiths will, of course, recommend lock and access control solutions that work well for your hospital. They’ll be familiar with the available options, and they’ll be able to explain the advantages and disadvantages of each viable option. This is true both for macro solutions, such as facility-wide access control systems, and micro solutions, like a specific door’s lock style.
For example, a locksmith will know what locks are suitable for a given door, based on the door’s use, the door’s location and what codes come into play. They’ll be able to tell you about each lock, and which ones will provide the particular benefits your hospital is looking for (e.g. cost, power supply, durability, etc.).
Don’t be afraid to ask the locksmith you’re working with all of the questions you have. They’re experts in their field, and part of their job is to help you understand your hospital’s options so you can make informed decisions.
You’ll Need Another Company for CCTV
A qualified locksmith will be able to take care of all your hospital’s access control and lock system needs, but that’s about where their services end. For on-site security, closed circuit television and other services, you’ll have to contact another company. The locksmiths who are qualified to manage hospital systems are highly trained in their particular field, and they generally don’t branch into other fields.
Having said that, your locksmith might have recommendations on what companies to contact for other services. Should you need any additional services, ask whether they have any recommendations.
Developing Master Keys is an Involved Process
Developing master keys is one of the most involved parts of setting up a facility-wide access control system.
To start with, hospital departments move locations and change in size with some regularity, and each department may need multiple levels of master keys. Moreover, many departments interact with other departments, so some individuals may need access to more than one department.
A well-designed master key program will take all of this into account. It’ll grant all personnel who have master keys access to the particular areas they need access to.
Implementing Master Keys Requires Communication
Furthermore, developing a master key program is just the first step. The program must then be implemented.
Implementing a master key program usually involves talking to many different people. Master keys normally aren’t given out unless there’s written authorization from an appropriate person, which is usually a department head or administrator. When implementing a master key program, you may have to seek out signatures from all department heads and several administrators. With vacations, forgetfulness and other factors, this can take a while.
You’ll Be Contacting Your Locksmith Regularly
Finally, be prepared to contact your locksmith regularly. Even with the most knowledgeable locksmith and most reliable hardware in place, you’ll still be talking to your locksmith fairly frequently. Hospitals are large facilities, and they often have thousands of doors. Maintaining all of these doors is usually a full-time job for several people.
If you’re in charge of a hospital’s security in Pennsylvania and would like to learn more about hospital locksmith services, contact us at Great Valley Lock Shop. A Pennsylvania-based locksmith, we provide expert, reliable locksmith services for medical facilities. Give us a call at (610) 644-5334 or fill out our free, online estimate request form and one of our friendly representatives will contact you.