The Rahima Moosa Hospital nursing college in Johannesburg has become one of the first
hospitals in the country to use facial recognition technology to replace access cards and
biometrics for security and access control.

The hospital, which has hundreds of staff and students, considered card reader and
fingerprint reader options before opting for the zero-touch approach that facial recognition
offers – a major plus during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Facial recognition technology makes access control management a lot easier for hospitals,
who no longer need to worry about lost staff access cards and forgotten passwords. A
hands-free authentication process makes for a far more hygienic way to keep staff safe from
unnecessary physical contact with the device,” said Neal Harvey, Security Solutions
Consultant at Itec SA.

Itec not only installed the access control system using Hikvision face recognition terminals,
but rolled out high resolution IP cameras and microphones across the training facilities to
allow students to monitor procedures more closely from the training classrooms on site.
The hospital’s key priority is to maintain a safe and secure hospital environment for patients,
staff, and visitors, while protecting sensitive facilities and information. However, ID and swipe
cards can easily be lost, stolen or shared, causing potentially serious security breaches, and
incurring ongoing costs for replacement. 

The new system allows the hospital to enrol people’s faces immediately, using artificial
intelligence, and integrates easily with existing access control infrastructure, including card
readers and biometrics.

“The use of facial recognition means that authentication can’t be stolen, lost or forgotten.
This way, you ensure the right people are getting access to the right areas, which keeps
healthcare staff more secure by preventing unauthorised individuals from accessing areas
they shouldn’t be in,” said Harvey.

Harvey says the challenges of securing South Africa’s hospitals and healthcare institutions
are unique, because facilities generally operate 24/7 with high volumes of visitors in public
areas. At the same time, they must maintain high levels of security when it comes to the
safety of patients, medical information, operating rooms and drug storage.

In conclusion, Harvey points out that with the evolution of the technology now available and
the affordability of these solutions, he anticipates the trend will be for business to upgrade to
the newest and best the market has to offer, post COVID-19.