Healthcare Facilities Are Using Technology To Meet Patient, Staff Demands

In response to Covid-19, healthcare facilities have adopted new strategies and security measures to limit the spread of infection, while protecting people and property.

Beyond PPE and touchless access control, Covid-19 accelerated the adoption of new security and safety measures aimed at protecting people and physical assets at healthcare facilities, according to a new survey. The Allegion U.S. survey, “2022 Health Care Trends Report: A Study on How Health Care Facilities Are Using Technology to Meet the Demands of the Changing Landscape,” provides insight into trends and challenges of today’s hospitals. The survey includes input from 100 decision makers across leading U.S. health systems including Ascension Health, HCA Healthcare, John Hopkins Medicine, and Kaiser Permanente.

Healthcare Facilities Technology
(Credit: Adobe Stock by Gorodenkoff)

In 2016, Allegion conducted a similar study, providing a benchmark for recent developments around electronic access control adoption, which were on the rise before 2020. Over the last five years, electronic usage has evolved, and there are more accommodations for patients with disabilities and behavioral health conditions.

“Health care has long been a dynamic market as result of continuous advancements and new technologies on the medical front,” said Connie Alexander, senior manager for primary research & insights. “Our research reveals that we are now witnessing unprecedented evolution in other aspects of health care environments, particularly relative to the safety and security of patients, property, and staff.”

Here are the key trends and challenges examined in the report:

  • Pandemic Impact—The last two years devastated the healthcare industry in many ways and profoundly altered how healthcare facilities operate.
    • 88% of healthcare professionals cited at least one way that Covid-19 impacted their organization’s infrastructure needs and plans
    • 73% added extra layers of security to limit the spread of infection while protecting people and property
    • 59% added touchless technology at openings and 62% electrified openings with access control

      Healthcare Facilities Technology
      (Source: Allegion U.S.)
  • Surface Transmission Strategies—While infection control has always been a top healthcare priority, Covid-19 forced facilities to adopt new solutions.
    • 89% are using antimicrobial products in their facilities today, up a significant 170% from 2016
    • 61% are using hands-free or touchless access products more than before
    • 93% are using touchless or hands-free products throughout the building—from patient areas like individual rooms and the ICU to common spaces like restrooms and reception areas
  • Strategic Initiatives & Planning—Looking ahead, healthcare industry leaders expect to see security-related initiatives grow in the next 12 months.
    • 55% of hospitals standardized purchasing of door hardware and access control products, up 13% from five years ago
    • 40% plan to expand their security plans in the next year, including projects related to key control, credentialing and ligature resistance
  • Electronic Access Control Adoption—Adoption escalated throughout the healthcare market over the last five years, especially among larger facilities located in urban and suburban markets. Common areas with electronic door hardware in place include surgical suites, nurseries, behavioral health units, and equipment rooms.
    • 92% are using electronic access control to some extent, 13% higher than in 2016
    • Of those using connected systems in their facilities, 82% are using hardwired electronic access control products, and 71% are using wireless technologies
    • Health are professionals cite cost (34%) and lack of budgets (28%) as primary barriers to widespread electronic access control adoption
  • Patient Accommodations—Facilities have become more accommodating for patients of all abilities and needs. The pandemic and an increased focus on mental health are cited as key drivers for these shifts.
    • Over 80% of hospitals updated doors to meet ADA compliance over the last year
    • Changing door knobs to levers (45%) and adding automatic door operators (44%) were the most common changes made in areas like patient rooms, common areas and restrooms
    • 57% are experiencing an increase in patients requiring rooms with ligature resistant hardware—which is specifically designed to reduce the risk of strangulation—up 7% from five years ago
  • Prioritizing Staff Satisfaction—Hospitals and other facilities appear to be valuing their employees and prioritizing staff satisfaction, which may be attributed to the impact Covid-19 had on this workforce.
    • When asked how their organization measures effectiveness of hands-free and touchless products, the top response was improvement of staff satisfaction (66%)
    • At 60%, staff satisfaction was in the top three answers when asked a similar question about measuring the effectiveness of antimicrobials
    • Staff satisfaction was ranked number one for how respondents measure the effectiveness of quiet door hardware
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