An example of a ButterflyMX keypad being used for healthcare access control.


Key takeaways

  • ButterflyMX offers the best access control products for healthcare facilities.
  • The most common types of access control in healthcare are role-based, attribute-based, and physical.
  • Access control in healthcare protects your patients, staff, assets, and data and may save you from liability issues.
  • Healthcare access control is used in hospitals, dentist offices, nursing homes, and more.


The merger of healthcare and technology is never more prevalent than in a healthcare access control system. Healthcare facilities are responsible for their patients, staff, and medical files. Access control technology is a key pillar of safety and security in the often hectic healthcare facility environment.

In this post, we cover the best access control system for a healthcare facility. Next, we go over the different types of access control and why they are necessary. Lastly, we explore how access control systems are used at different healthcare facilities.

This post covers:


ButterflyMX Access Control CTA


Best healthcare access control systems to buy

ButterflyMX, a cloud-based access control company, offers the best suite of access control products for healthcare access control. Currently, ButterflyMX is installed in over 10,000 properties and has over 20,000 five-star reviews.


ButterflyMX products & benefits

  • Elevator controls. Restrict access to only authorized users for certain floors in your facility. This is a great way to ensure that floors with valuable equipment or at-risk patients are protected.
  • Keypads and readers. ButterflyMX keypads and readers secure restricted rooms and areas. They support keyless entry through the ButterflyMX mobile app alongside other credentials like key cards, fobs, and PIN codes. As a result, your facility’s staff can access the areas they need using the credentials of their choice, maximizing convenience without sacrificing security.
  • Vehicle readers. Your facility’s parking area can be a contentious area depending on the volume of visitors that your property recieves. You can ensure that staff members have their own gated parking lot or garage by equipping their cars with RFID windshield tags. The vehicle reader will then scan a user’s windshield tag and open the gate for them, eliminating wait times and reducing the chances of tailgating.
  • Front desk station software. This software allows you to log visitor entries onto your property with time- and date stamped photos. It also allows you to grant remote access and speak with visitors via a live video feed. This can allow you to help visitors who are having trouble entering the building.

All ButterflyMX products are cloud-based. This means that they store user data and log-in information in the cloud, reducing the need for on-site data storage. Property managers can access user information from their mobile devices and remotely assign permissions with ease.


What are access controls in healthcare?

Access controls in healthcare facilities manage access permissions so that only authorized users can enter certain spaces. In healthcare, this can be used to separate staff-only areas from spaces used by both patients and possible visitors.

Additionally, it can be used to protect patients from leaving the building and putting themselves in danger in properties such as memory-care facilities. Access control in healthcare can be used to protect sensitive data, equipment, and, most importantly, patients who may be in a vulnerable state. We have already reviewed ButterflyMX’s suite of the best access control devices, but there are additional ways to control access at your facility.

In addition to the ButterflyMX products we mentioned, access control in healthcare can take the form of:

  • Security guards. Physical security in healthcare is a big deal; sometimes, a living and breathing security guard does what technology can’t. Security guards are often necessary because healthcare is sometimes emotionally charged for patients and visitors. A trained human being will de-escalate a security situation smoothly.
  • Window locks. Healthcare facilities such as multi-story hospitals often feature many windows. These locks secure windows from unwanted access from both outside and within.
  • Biometric locks. These advanced locks include fingerprint scanners and eye readers that scan a user’s physical credentials before allowing access.
  • Turnstiles. These block access to a physical space until a user scans their credentials.


What is role-based access control in healthcare?

Role-based access control in healthcare is one of several different types of access control. Role-based access control in healthcare is when a user’s access permissions is based on their “role” or position at your facility. For example, a front desk person will have different access permissions than a doctor or nurse. Role-based access control allows different employees to have access to different spaces within your property.


A woman programs access permissions for healthcare access control.


What are the other types of access control for healthcare facilities?

There are a few other types of access control relevant to healthcare facilities. Please note that access control can also refer to permissions and restrictions for computer software and data protection, which we don’t cover in this post.

The types of healthcare access control are:

  • Attribute-based access control (ABAC). These systems base access permissions on time and location in addition to a user’s role. For example, after-hours permissions at your facility will change who is allowed onto your property, such as night staff or janitorial staff.
  • Physical access control. We’ve reviewed physical access control earlier in this post. Physical access control takes the form of physical devices that restrict access, such as turnstiles, locks, and gates. Additionally, this is a good time to mention that access control systems can have more than one classification. ABAC access control can also be physical access control and likewise with role-based access control.


Learn how to set up access groups at your healthcare facility using ButterflyMX:


Why is healthcare access control necessary?

Access control in healthcare should be a big priority for the following reasons:

  • Liability. Healthcare facilities can be dangerous places with lots of hazardous equipment, materials, and drugs. Patients’ health and data are your responsibility, meaning you must make strides in protecting them from a variety of potential threats.
  • Asset protection. You likely have expensive, highly specialized equipment at your facility. Access control will protect your equipment from theft and unauthorized usage.
  • Staff protection. Staff members often have to deal with stressful situations in healthcare. It’s important that you enable a system that protects them both within your property and on your grounds.
  • Patient protection. Your patients are often put in a vulnerable position under your care, and they place a lot of trust in you. It’s your responsibility to ensure that they are safe and that they also feel safe so that they can focus on their healthcare needs.
  • Data protection. In accordance with HIPPA, medical files need to be secured and made accessible to authorized personnel only. An access control system will ensure that a patient’s medical history doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.


How to implement a new healthcare access control system

Introducing a new access control system to your healthcare facility can be a major disruption. As a result, we recommend following a few basic steps to make the transition process smooth.

When implementing a new healthcare access control system, you should:

  • Provide healthcare access control training. No matter how simple to use, you should provide training for all access control users at your property. As we’ve covered, access control protects a lot at your property. You want to make sure that your staff and users have a clear understanding of how the system operates.
  • Review access permissions regularly. You will want to periodically audit who has access to your property. Staff members come and go in healthcare, with turnover rates as high as 106.6% at hospitals over the past five years. You want to ensure that only authorized users have access to sensitive areas. For the best experience, integrate your access control with your HR software so that when employees are hired or leave, their status is automatically changed in the system.
  • Update your system frequently. You will want to ensure that your access control software is current and up to date. Luckily, with ButterflyMX products, your software updates automatically, thanks to cloud software, enabling new features and a longer-lasting system.


What are examples of access control in healthcare?

Access control is used all across the healthcare industry. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the most popular places that benefit from access control. However, this list is not exhaustive.

Healthcare access control examples include:

  1. Hospital access control
  2. Dentist office access control
  3. Pharmacy security systems
  4. Nursing home access control


1. Hospital access control

Hospitals are where access control systems are needed the most in healthcare. Hospitals often feature multiple floors with specialized purposes. There are maternity wards, cancer wards, and wards with contagious diseases. Hospitals also need to have spaces for surgeries, nurse and doctor lounges, and visitor reception. Additionally, all sorts of pharmaceuticals and equipment need to be protected.

Aside from protecting each floor and space from unauthorized users, the biggest unreliable factor at hospitals is the visitors. Ensuring that visitors get to the right patient without causing any disturbances to staff and other patients is a daunting task that a good access control system makes easier.


2. Dentist office access control

Dentist offices seem like an unassuming corner of the healthcare industry. However, they have expensive equipment and pharmaceuticals that need protection.

In addition, dentist offices receive a tremendous amount of visitors every day. Also, dentist offices are closed overnight and need to ensure that everything within is locked up and secured. An access control system is necessary to properly secure restricted areas at a dentist’s office.


A dentist office chair secured by healthcare access control.


3. Pharmacy security systems

Pharmacies need access control systems in place to protect the vast amount of pharmaceuticals available at their facility. It’s no secret that drugs are a major factor when it comes to crime, and as a result, pharmacies need extra security measures in place. A good access control system will ensure that only trained staff members have access to restricted areas. Furthermore, a good access control system will allow you to review everyone who has accessed the restricted areas at your pharmacy.


4. Nursing home access control

In addition to the standard reasons that a healthcare facility needs an access control system (to protect pharmaceuticals, equipment, and patients/staff), nursing homes often need to keep some residents from leaving the facility. As a result, you need a unique access control system that restricts access both into and out of your facility.

Additionally, nursing homes receive a high number of visitors. Visitors to nursing homes are often loved ones who want to take care of their family members. With this in mind, you want an access control system that makes access simple for guests.


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Nick Manzolillo

I'm a Rhode Island-based writer fascinated with real estate development, the inner workings of the real estate industry, and how real estate and technology blend together.

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