The Power of Access Control in Healthcare

Masonicare is Connecticut’s most extensive not-for-profit integrated senior care continuum. With residential living, skilled nursing and rehabilitation, senior hospital, home health care, homemaker companion, and hospice and palliative care, Masonicare cares for thousands of patients and residents every day. 

Masonicare was in need of a new access control solution to secure their facility and ensure the safety of its residents, patients, and nearly 2,300 employees. A few of their access control necessities consisted of: 

  • Preventing residents in wheelchairs from being able to open the door to a stairwell, where they would be at risk of serious injury.
  • Keeping patients with memory loss or other cognitive impairments safe and in one area.
  • Having pharmacy doors locked down to prevent misuse of narcotics.
  • Making certain that facilities are locked at night and opened in the morning. Consequently, access control is at the heart of its security measures. 

The Challenge

Masonicare had 145 Isonas readers installed that controlled the door access throughout the buildings on campus. While the readers themselves were functioning, the legacy software that was managing the readers was creating major headaches for the organization. “Doors always went down, costing us hours of work because we drove from one location to another to get a door back online,” said Tyler Timek, IT Security Engineer at Masonicare. “The root cause was the legacy software. We needed to find the right access control software to manage the readers at our doors.” When any door went down and could not be locked, the heightened risk threatened the safety of residents, patients, and employees. 

One door going offline could result in a resident in a wheelchair falling downstairs or a patient with Alzheimer’s wandering out of the building and onto the street at night. “The software is so easy to use that we were able to grant HR users the ability to add users and give access as well as remove access. This takes some of the burden off IT and equips HR with the ability to move faster and be more efficient in their processes to onboard and offboard employees,” said Timek. Furthermore, in two of the buildings, a lockdown feature is used, so control of all the doors is imperative to ensure a complete lockdown in case of an emergency.

 In order to decide which access control solution to use, Masonicare consulted with its integrator, A+ Technology, and Security Solutions. The integrator knew that the legacy software would no longer be supported by its manufacturer, which left Masonicare in a bad spot.

We came in, looked at the future more strategically and suggested that Masonicare look at Open Options because of their support of Isonas,” said Jeffrey Sweeney, Sales Manager at A+ Technology and Security Solutions. “Knowing how well Open Options approaches software development, we were confident that they would continue to support Masonicare well into the future, without the need for a forklift upgrade that other access control solution providers would painfully require.

The Solution

Masonicare selected Open Options’ DNA Fusion as its new software platform to manage its access control. DNA Fusion was able to integrate with its Isonas readers, which were all kept in place; therefore, no forklift upgrade was needed, saving costs. “DNA Fusion software is very easy to use,” said Timek. “Installation of this software from Open Options was quick, and it’s easy to add readers to the platform. The process to move over each reader took only about two weeks, exceeding our expectations.” The end result of the solution delighted the customer. “Readers do not randomly go down anymore,” added Timek. “It’s a very different experience from when we were using the legacy software.”

The legacy software used to take hours to update the devices at all the sites, particularly pushing out permissions for new employees. With Open Options software, it now takes less than one minute for all sites to be updated with the latest security information. “The performance improvement was an immediate benefit for Masonicare,” said Sweeney, whose company assisted with migrating to the new software platform. “Expandability, namely the ability to add wireless locks where it made more sense than rewiring for readers, was another benefit, as well as Masonicare taking advantage of the integrations that come along with Open Options.” 

The enhanced capabilities of the more robust system, DNA Fusion, also enable Masonicare to confidently use lockdown buttons at two locations, controlling access levels to different areas. The new platform increased the reliability of using time schedules on specific doors and enhanced the overall efficiency of operations. DNA Fusion was installed in the IT department and the Human Resources department at Masonicare, and brought much-needed security streamlining to the Masonicare infrastructure.

“The software is so easy to use that we were able to give our HR employees the ability to add users for access onsite as well as remote,” Timek explained. “This takes some of the burden off IT and equips HR with the ability to move faster and be more efficient in their processes to onboard and offboard employees.”

Supporting the customer with its next-level Connect Care services, Open Options provided access that connected Masonicare to its ultimate goals to protect and enrich lives, from door to door, with the most advanced open platform access control solution on the market today.

Integrator Spotlight: Security Control Integrators

When it comes to precision and reliability, Security Control Integrators (SCI) has it in the bag. Open Options Vanderbilt is proud to work side-by-side with SCI because of their dependability, careful attention to detail, and knowledge and expertise in the field.

SCI and Open Options Vanderbilt recently teamed up when a large healthcare organization needed a new solution to replace its existing access control system. SCI turned to ACRE brands, Open Options, and Vanderbilt Industries to supply an open platform system and upgraded hardware that would better fit the updated needs of the organization.

“SCI has been a trusted partner from the beginning,” said Chuck O’Leary, President, Open Options. “We know that when we partner with them, they will work quickly and efficiently to support the end-user's needs. No matter how small or large the request is, we trust SCI to handle our access control solution with the utmost precision and care.”

In the course of a weekend, SCI installation teams removed the existing hardware at the large healthcare organization, replaced everything with the updated system, and meticulously checked each new server and card reader for proper operation. Employees arriving early for their Monday morning shift discovered the new system up and running with no problems.

“The system we installed was proven easy to use, scalable, and cost-effective,” said Trevor Stewart, President, Security Control Integrators. “We truly value the ACRE brands as partners, and we’re excited about their further expansion into the hosted solutions arena. We know partnering with them will serve the end-user customers and us well for many years to come.”

About Security Control Integrators

Founded in 2006, Security Control Integrators (SCI) is a world-class provider of integrated security solutions, including on-premise and cloud-based hosted systems. SCI develops and delivers comprehensive security solutions that fulfill the unique needs of businesses of varying sizes and industries. SCI believes that flexibility is the fundamental component in the seamless integration of access control, intrusion, and video surveillance.