All Secure at American Fork Hospital in Utah

JCAHO Gold Approval obtained with new access control management system

As part of the process for maintaining its Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval, American Fork Hospital in Utah has installed a state-of-the-art networked access control package from SALTO Systems to secure its pharmaceutical supplies stored in cabinets, refrigerators, and storerooms.

As part of a group of 21 hospitals owned and operated by Intermountain Healthcare, a non-profit healthcare provider based in Salt Lake City, the hospital delivers quality care to people with a medical need, regardless of ability to pay. It serves the healthcare needs of Utah and south-eastern Idaho residents and is proud to have been recognized three times as one of America's top 100 hospitals.

As a modern 205,000 square foot facility with state-of-the-art medical technology, 117 beds and a medical staff of more than 200 physicians representing 25 specialties, American Fork Hospital recognizes that crime prevention and patient safety in hospitals must always focus on the need to preserve essential healthcare facilities while simultaneously providing a safe environment for staff and visitors.

A central element in any hospital's crime risk is the presence of large, transient populations, which makes it difficult in many cases to control access and identify trespassers. This basic vulnerability combined with several other considerations, such as the fact that a huge variety of hospital property also has ordinary domestic uses, or is otherwise usable outside the healthcare environment – especially medicines and drugs - makes it attractive to thieves. And given the fact that most stolen property is easily disposable, this means that very often a lot of crime in hospitals goes unreported.

This risk clearly justifies a considerable security effort and to ensure the storage facilities for its medicines and drugs were secure as part of its compliance with the Joint Commission accreditation process, American Fork Hospital decided to upgrade the levels of security protection on its pharmaceutical cabinet, refrigerator, and storeroom doors with an electronic access control system.

The Joint Commission accreditation is a nationwide seal of approval that indicates a hospital meets high performance standards and as an independent, not-for-profit organization, is the nation's predominant standards-setting and accrediting body in healthcare. It evaluates and accredits nearly 15,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the United States and to earn it a hospital must undergo a full on-site survey by a Joint Commission survey team at least every three years.

Key control

"The hospital considered fitting fully hard wired systems from other manufacturers to boost security but hard wiring an entire building for a fully on-line controlled system is prohibitively expensive and is not always technically achievable due to mains power and network cable run problems" says Randy Hutchings, National Sales Manager Dealer Network, of SALTO Systems Inc.

"However we were able to demonstrate that the SALTO 'SVN' and 'Networked Locks' system could provide them with a practical alternative providing almost everything that a hard wired system would deliver but in a stand alone, wire free format and at lower cost, saving valuable dollars."

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