hospital access control


Key takeaways

  • Hospital access control is crucial because it helps protect people, data, and resources.
  • Healthcare facilities are faced with unique challenges, such as having multiple entryways and exits to secure, being accessible 24/7, and housing targets that are at a high risk of theft.
  • Role-based access control lets you assign a role to an individual, which grants them access to specific areas.
  • The best hospital access control system is ButterflyMX.


Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are presented with unique security challenges that require a robust solution. Fortunately, healthcare access control systems enable healthcare facilities to provide patients with the care they need safely and securely.

With that said, this guide will detail why access control is crucial for healthcare facilities. In addition, you’ll learn what role-based access control is, how it’s used in hospitals, and how much these types of solutions cost. Above all, discover what the best hospital access control system is on the market.

This post covers:


Why is access control important in healthcare?

Access control is important in healthcare because it aims to maintain a safe and secure facility for medical professionals to perform their duties. After all, hospitals, dentist offices, and other healthcare facilities aim to treat and care for patients as effectively as possible.

An access control system supports the goal of hospitals by protecting three primary things:

  1. People
  2. Assets
  3. Data


ButterflyMX Access Control CTA


1. People

Patients, visitors, doctors, nurses, custodial staff, and numerous other people are the primary reasons for hospital access control. While these systems are meant to protect individuals, they also restrict their movement through the facility.

By limiting people’s access, you lower the risk of security issues, such as possible suspects, perpetrators, or aggressive patients. Without proper credentials, these individuals are unable to carry out their motives while also reducing the number of people they could potentially harm.

What’s more, access control makes it easier for doctors, employees, and other staff to traverse the facility. Hospitals are open 24/7, meaning employees come and go at all hours. Access control systems simplify employee access by adhering to staff’s schedules no matter the time of day.


2. Assets

Healthcare facilities spend millions of dollars on medical equipment and supplies every year, meaning safe and secure storage is paramount. However, theft is the third most common crime reported in hospitals, according to the 2022 Healthcare Crime Survey by the IAHSS Foundation.

Unfortunately, theft of such assets can hinder those services to the point where patients don’t receive care or must pay more for it. So, hospital access control systems reduce the number of thefts at your facility. Preventing patients and unauthorized staff from entering sensitive areas will help maintain the essential inventory.


3. Data

Finally, healthcare organizations must adhere to stringent HIPAA regulations governing Protected Health Information (PHI), emphasizing patients’ federal rights over their health data.

The security of patient information requires two approaches, encompassing both cybersecurity and physical security. While most think data is stolen through cyberattacks, there are actually many instances where the lack of physical security or a vulnerability is to blame. For example, a physical credential could be stolen or copied to gain access to sensitive patient data.

In any case, your hospital’s access control system should leverage mobile access control technology. This innovative approach minimizes the reliance on traditional physical credentials like key cards or badges, which can be susceptible to theft or duplication. By adopting a mobile access control system, you’ll enhance your facility’s security and reduce the potential for breaches. As a result, you also fortify patients’ overall data protection.


Unique challenges of hospital security

The nature and design of healthcare facilities make implementing a robust security solution challenging.

More specifically, hospital security includes the following challenges:


hospital sign for entrance


Multiple entryways and exits

Hospitals are populated with various entryways and exits for the public, employees, and contractors. Plus, healthcare facilities require areas for delivery trucks, ambulances, and other vehicle access points. With so many points of entry, the biggest difficulty is securing them all while maintaining access for authorized personnel.


Public and private areas

Generally, hospitals are open to the public, allowing anyone to access the facility. So, it’s best for hospitals to secure the most sensitive areas from the public, only granting access to authorized employees with role-based access control.

Additionally, many public areas intertwine or intersect with private areas of hospitals, meaning hospitals must secure doors appropriately. Thus, patients and visitors can’t access valuable data or materials.


Security Sensitive Areas (SSA)

A Security Sensitive Area (SSA) is a place in a hospital that requires more security because of the assets stored there or the nature of work performed. For example, a hospital’s pharmacy is considered SSA because of the high-value medications and materials stored there.

As a result, the pharmacies require more security because they’re a premium target for potential thieves. Other hospital areas that may be considered security-sensitive include emergency rooms, maternity wards, and office spaces.


24/7 access

Hospitals are accessible to the public 24/7, and employees undergo sporadic and inconsistent schedules. Thus, your healthcare facility should be equipped with a role-based access control system that’s flexible under dynamic conditions.


High-risk targets

As alluded to above, hospitals have numerous high-risk targets in their facility, from patient records and medication to expensive medical equipment. These areas are more likely to experience theft because of the highly valuable items they store. For that reason, access control systems and additional hospital security features should be utilized around these assets.


What is role-based access control in a hospital?

Role-based access control (RBAC) restricts access to certain areas based on a hospital employee’s role. That way, only designated roles may enter authorized areas, preventing individuals from entering areas that are irrelevant to their position.

For example, licensed practical nurses (LPNs) cannot prescribe medicine to patients. Instead, they offer more direct patient care by assisting with daily activities and checking blood sugar or blood pressure. So, LPNs should not have access to areas where medicine is stored. This lack of access should be reflected in the access control system when roles are created.

Conversely, registered nurses (RNs) can prescribe and administer medications orally or through an IV. So, the roles RNs are assigned in the access control system grant them access to areas where medicine is stored.

Overall, role-based access control is designed to make access easier for hospital employees. If an employee is promoted, they may need access to additional areas. In that case, all it requires is for you to simply assign them the new role in the system.


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


How much does an access control system cost?

On average, an access control system costs anywhere from $2,000 to more than $10,000.

Of course, there are many factors that influence the price of an access control system — especially for hospitals. It’s also important to mention that the cost of the system does not include installation, ongoing maintenance, or subscriptions.

Generally, hospitals can expect access control system costs to fluctuate based on:

  • Type of system
  • Features
  • Number of access points
  • System manufacturer
  • Dealer


Best hospital access control system

The best access control for hospitals is ButterflyMX.

Established in 2014, ButterflyMX is a cloud-based access control company. With more than 10,000 building installs and over one million daily active users, ButterflyMX offers a property-wide access control solution that meets your hospital’s unique needs.

ButterflyMX enables users to access areas with their phones, reducing the need for physical credentials. However, our access control platform also supports key cards, key fobs, and PIN codes — all of which are manageable through any device.

The ButterflyMX mobile access control platform encompasses the following:

  • Keypads. ButterflyMX keypads accept a variety of credentials, such as a PIN code, key cards, and fobs. Additionally, our keypads accept access through the mobile app for a touchless solution.
  • Card readers. Similar to our keypads, the card readers accept key cards, fobs, and the mobile app.
  • Vehicle readers. Perfect for garages and parking lots, vehicle readers simplify vehicle access by scanning the windshield tag and granting access. Vehicle readers are ideal for employee parking garages and areas where vehicle access is restricted.
  • Elevator controls. Control employee and visitor access to certain levels of the hospital by enabling elevator controls. That way, you can prevent unauthorized personnel from entering sensitive floors.


healthcare facility access control cta

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Bryson Hile

I love learning about new technologies, especially within the real estate market. I currently reside in Fishers, Indiana.

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