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Klinikum Herford (Germany)

Keeping patients safe and healthy – Klinikum Herford places its trust in Galaxyport Protect from Wanzl for reliable infection control

Systemically important and sensitive zone – as medical care centres, hospitals are playing a key role during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Infection control and health care must have the highest priority here. For this reason, the Klinikum Herford hospital near Bielefeld, Germany, chose a smart solution from Wanzl for implementing preventive protection measures during the pandemic: a Galaxyport Protect has recently been installed in the foyer for automatic access control with infection control.

Marco Kauling, emergency doctor and member of the crisis team at Klinikum Herford, explains the importance of the control measures: “The government is currently formulating clear requirements for infection control for us as a hospital because nowhere is this as existentially important as it is here. We provide care for risk groups who are particularly vulnerable to the virus. In addition, we need each and every employee. The hospital has a total of 800 beds, of which 70% are currently occupied. It was therefore essential to link access to the building with body temperature checks and the wearing of face masks”. Klinikum Herford based its concept for visitor management on the recommendations of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and the ministerial requirements in the Federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. “We have been obligated to ensure standardised visitor management since COVID-19. The extent to which we permit visitors is linked to the current 7-day incidence rate. If it is too high, there is a general prohibition of access. During this time, we only issue exemptions for visits,” adds Marco Kauling. If the rate is within an acceptable range, some 150 visitors visit our hospital every day as well as 70-100 outpatients. They may only enter once it has been determined that they do not have a fever and that they are wearing a face mask. Thanks to the Galaxyport Protect from Wanzl, our hospital can automate and standardise these control processes. The Galaxyport Protect reliably, safely and quickly checks every visitor by means of a GDPR-compliant thermal camera.

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If a person’s body temperature is in the normal range and if the person is wearing a face mask, the automatic swing gate made of ESG safety glass opens in an instant. If a high temperature is detected, a porter checks the temperature again. If a fever is indeed determined access is refused – to protect patients and employees. Kauling is satisfied: “The automatic access solution with integrated camera simplifies these checks significantly. The Galaxyport Protect was quickly installed and simplifies our daily processes. It prevents long queues and makes the checks also more convenient for our visitors”. With its modular design, the access control system can be configured to suit specific requirements – even the passage widths can be adapted – according to customers’ needs and the architectural conditions in the building.

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Klinikum Herford is now equipped for a coronavirus winter with its Galaxyport Protect. Besides control, data documentation forms part of visitor management – each visitor is obligated to complete a questionnaire beforehand so that chains of infection can be traced quickly in the event of a crisis. After the questionnaire has been submitted at the gate, access authorisation is checked. Only employees are allowed to use a separate entrance to access the building. Kauling says the reason for that is simple: “We rely on our employees to take responsibility for themselves, comply with the rules and monitor their own health status. They have been trained in this respect and are aware. Daily screening with the Galaxyport Protect is therefore not necessary. The access control system is intended solely for external visitors”.

For Kauling, this control also has an intangible value: “We are sending a clear message that visiting the hospital means entering a sensitive zone. If a virus is introduced and spreads, this can have fatal consequences for our patients. It is our and our employees’ responsibility to take the best possible precautions”. The entire building complex of the hospital comprises 18 wards on nine floors. Anyone who enters the main building must go through the foyer to the lifts that take them to the various floors. The Galaxyport Protect is positioned directly at the centre of the lobby as the entrance. Wanzl partitions consisting of stainless steel and ESG safety glass on either side of the system provide additional guidance. All the other entrances have been closed in order to optimise visitor management during the pandemic – the Wanzl access gate controls access to the building at the main entrance. It is barrier-free access at the same time and serves as a safe escape route as the ESG swivel arms open automatically in the event of a fire.

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The concept of the access system in the hospital was developed jointly by the Construction and Engineering department and Wanzl, and is continuously modified. Ralf Klemme, Head of the Construction and Engineering department at Klinikum Herford remembers: “Our requirements on the system were constantly changing due to COVID-19. Over the last six months we learnt a lot about the nature and progression of the disease and therefore had to revise our processes, such as the guidance system, on an ongoing basis – we were impressed with Wanzl’s flexibility in continuously complying with our requests. It is thanks to this consistent fine-tuning that we have been able to realise this project with an outstanding result.

Will the technology be retained after COVID-19? Kauling forecasts: “The hospital world will certainly change as a result of the pandemic, especially when it comes to visitor management. Hospitals will adapt to new and improved hygiene concepts for dealing with visitors from outside. Wearing a face mask and scanning body temperature are, after all, important aspects of  infection control which is of the highest priority for every hospital. The Galaxyport Protect not only simplifies our processes but also contributes to a greater sense of responsibility – for the good of our own health and, of course, that of others”.