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Visitor Management Systems for Healthcare

Thomas Carnevale: Sometimes taking a little bit of process can help but use the human eyes and instincts in the right places to be successful. So I think any transitioning to Visitor management systems they know that’s something that’s kind of a hot plate for you right now. I don’t know that it’s new in healthcare but the reality is there’s still a lot of health care facilities with pen and paper visitor management systems. Yes, there’s still a lot of health care facilities. You know using proprietary unshared databases that do not work with access control. When did you start thinking about visitor management for your health care facility and Hospital, what we’re some of your goals?

Myron Love: Great question. So we implemented Electronic Visitor Management 13 months ago so it’s still relatively early for us.
A couple of the problems we were having. Was my knowledge that we were not doing. Well. I was going to say not a great job. We were doing No Job whatsoever when it comes to screening for sex offenders coming into our Hospital. With us being a Pediatric Health Organization we felt they were very important. Previously, if we received information from law enforcement or the Department of Child and Family Services then we would be able to take action on that. But we didn’t have anything in place to screen every visitor which was a problem for us so we decided that we were going to limit that. We also before we put in this new electronic vision management system we were using pen and paper. So all visitors would receive a paper pass. That our concierge staff would write the law that they’re going to after checking if they actually have an appointment. Now the problem with that is when families leave we were kind of only on our old system on the honor system hoping that they would turn our passes in and many families did and they would walk out of the Hospital and just kind of just toss it out.

Thomas Carnevale: Guilty. I’ve done that very same thing visiting my Son at your Hospital.

Myron Love: It’s human nature, to go in there many times a week it’s human nature, and our Hospital was located a block away from Michigan Avenue two blocks away from the John Hancock tower. So it’s a major tourist area and there would be many times we would have people walking down Michigan Avenue would find one of our passes (on the ground) which would allow them entry to the Hospital and we would write the date on the pass but still you know you’re hoping that the security officer is able to read the badge and catch someone trying to come back in. So we had a couple of times when people who should not have been returning did come back into the Hospital as well. So with the new electronic visitor management system, we eliminated all of that. So we worked to eliminate the pen and paper passes actually take photos of all the visitors running a sex offender check their driver’s license automatically, populating their name and more information onto a pass that we would then print and give to them. So they’re wearing their photo on their badge to walk through the Hospital. Then for inpatient units, we locked all of those down 24/7, and all authorized visitors are given an access card that allows them entry to the unit. That way we can track visitors that are coming into the unit when the visitors are leaving, and if there’s an issue we can cut their access, and they are not able to enter back in.

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Thomas Carnevale: Fantastic! So they do get a credential?

Myron Love: Yes they do. For inpatient visits, they do get a credential.

Thomas Carnevale: So patients are restricted to the floor where they’re visiting specifically visiting. They can go up to the floor and I’m sure before they get into the patient wing is another checkpoint, Correct?

Myron Love: Yes there is.
Thomas Carnevale: Because that’s not going to just give them free access, but it’s going to give them at least Elevator access to the floor. To the checkpoint and then it can swipe them in.

Myron Love: And because it’s integrated with Active Directory if the patient’s information is changed so they’re assigned to a different floor or a different unit, for example between NICU or ICU or from the Elevator up to or wherever the case maybe it will change their access in the system automatically so they don’t need to come back to get another access card.

Thomas Carnevale: I assume you’ve not given them key fobs but lower-cost thin plastic cards?

Myron Love: Absolutely yes. That’s a way to do it because it’s got to be a disposable item.

Thomas Carnevale: Is there a time clock. Is there an amount of do you eliminate that credential authorization based on restricted designated time.

Myron Love: We do twenty-four hours for parents after four hours if you’re a parent.
Thomas Carnevale: What about swipes. What did you find that they’re swiping more times than they should? I mean yes, of course, they’re only restricted to an area. The more times they try or if they attempt. Multiple times in unauthorized areas. What how does this how do you think about that and plan for that?

Myron Love: We actually did think about that and in the layout of our hospitals a little bit different us being a skyscraper. So I know some hospitals I’ve visited. You have your main cafeteria might be off of a public corner source our cafeteria is actually on our 12th floor inside the Hospital. So we did think about if we wanted to limit how visitors. We would move between those floors but we. I decided not to do that because it’s not uncommon for families to go back and forth multiple times. Oh absolutely. And we do want to encourage your families to take their patients for a walk to get out of the unit if it’s you know if it’s medically possible for them to do that so they can feel some of our longer-term patients get a little cabin fever.

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Thomas Carnevale: Well what a night and day from pen and paper to electronic visitor management. And it’s much easier to manage. It sounds like it’s better for the visitor and the patients as well. And it gives them that sense of freedom without — too much freedom. I know you’re thinking and always dreaming about new technologies and ways to advance the Hospital’s Security. What things or areas are you thinking about implementing for Security whether it’s a process technology or it’s a training teaching moment. What areas are you experimenting with new innovations?

Myron Love: Definitely. Well, right now we’re looking at ways to capitalize on a foundation we’ve got with this electronic visitor management system. So one thing that we’re looking at that I’m very excited about is self-check-in visitor management kiosks. So we have two areas where you have to pass by Security to get into the Hospital. One is our main entry after you checking with registration staff, and you get your card you go past Security. Another is on our 11th floor. And the next one would be on our 11th floor where you also have to walk past a security officer, that takes you up to our inpatient floor. So we’re looking into putting in a visitor management kiosk there. I’m sorry a security turnstile there. So once you get your badge and your access card, you would actually be able to tap to go into the inpatient floors as well (through the security turnstile). And what excites me about that is the opportunity to use that to restrict patients from escaping out of our inpatient floors. For patient allotment or abduction medication of risk. So if it’s a patient that doesn’t have an access card that somehow manages to get off of the locked unit, but they make it down to the 11th floor there would be a kiosk that would physically stop them from passing if they don’t have an access card. So that’s one technology we’re really excited about. Also, the other would be pre-registration functionality with mobile devices.

Thomas Carnevale: A self-check-in mobile app?

Myron Love: Absolutely. And kiosks that we can use for self-check into registration- once you arrive for your appointment (which we’re hoping)we are going to be able to integrate to notify the floors that your “patient has arrived.” That way we can accommodate for the time it takes to check-in go to our Elevator and make your way up to our inpatient floors.

Thomas Carnevale: You know, something that’s really resonating for me in this conversation is a healthcare security professionals. We need to have more customer service integration in Security combined into one because they go so much in the same area.

Myron Love: Yes definitely.



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