Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought attention to capacity planning and tracking the identity of individuals who access high-congestion hospital spaces. In a busy hospital, healthcare workers move from one area to another within minutes as they serve different departments, and they need to be identified quickly. With most staff wearing masks and protective gear; it can be difficult to recognize people. This constant movement can create chaos in hospitals that do not have the proper ID card solution in place to track employees, visitors and contractors.  

With the rise of patients being admitted into the hospital due to COVID-19, the need for a practical access control badging solution has also risen to the top of the priority list. 

One consideration with ID card solutions and badging is the type of card and size of card. Some hospitals use temporary cards for visitors, volunteers and even staff. For others, more permanent, reusable ID cards can help distinguish, staff, volunteers and others within the facility. 

Oversized ID badges are an option that may be helpful in applications such as healthcare facilities where staff, medical personnel, patients, families and volunteers intermix. These types of badges are larger than the standard credit card size and allow individuals to be easily recognized in a crowd. With mask mandates still in place, larger badges can allow security personnel and others to recognize staff members with a photo of their face on an ID Badge. 

In addition, hospitals can add an extra layer of security and adopt a color-coded ID badge system to more easily distinguish between an employee, contractor or visitor. For example, all visitors might have a purple bar code printed on their badge, while an employee might have red. 

In addition to ID cards themselves, security leaders should ensure that staff have the appropriate badge accessories so staff can be easily identified. Badge holders, badge reels and lanyards can help display badges properly. Demand for anti-microbial breakaway lanyards is increasing at hospitals as well. This type of lanyard is typically made with a material containing nanoparticle-coated fibers that inhibit the growth of germs and kill odor-causing bacteria.

Another consideration for healthcare facilities with badging is integration of ID cards with access control solutions. In the healthcare space, such integrations are particularly useful in allowing security staff and administrators to restrict personnel, patients and others based on their credentials. As hospitals continue to combat the spread of COVID-19, access control remains an important preventative measure.