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Remote Access Control – Using 3rd Party Validation Systems to Control Access to Temperature-Controlled Storage Devices

Posted on Mar 06, 2020 by Jesse Smith

RAC BlogDeveloping optimal workflows to manage product security and accessibility in a healthcare environment can be a challenging task. When these processes are appropriately developed, user workflows are streamlined, consistent, and controlled. In addition, administrators can obtain device access records as needed.

A typical challenge is the ability to integrate new devices into a controlled-access workflow while using existing 3rd party validation systems. Most facilities already have a system in place when new storage equipment is purchased.

To assist professionals in quickly obtaining the benefits of workflows designed to utilize existing 3rd party validation systems, Remote Access Control (RAC) is now offered through Helmer Custom products.

RAC is available on all sizes of Helmer refrigerators and freezers as well as Ultra-low freezers and platelet incubators to allow 3rd party validation and control of device doors via a single connection point on the device.

Types of Access Control

There are many forms of 3rd party validation, but the most common types are door access RFID badge readers, magnetic card stripe readers, keypads and biometric scanning devices such as iris, retina and fingerprint scanners.

RAC allows users to easily integrate Helmer products into the standard access system using devices such as RFID badge readers that are already in use in many buildings and utilized as a means of access control and access record management.

Users simply install and setup their standard 3rd party validation device, such as the RFID badge reader, near the unit to be controlled, then make a single connection between the validation device and the Helmer device. The door of the Helmer device can then be unlocked by personnel permitted to access the contents by the building access system.

Benefits of Remote Access Control

Benefits of RAC may include controlling access to expensive or highly regulated medications, blood therapies or research samples, elimination of pass code management with keypad door access control solutions, controlling workflows, and access to door opening data as applicable through the 3rd party access systems.

Examples of Creative Remote Access Control Workflows

Workflow management in grossing rooms:  Pathology labs have cleverly eliminated the disruption occurring during dictation in grossing rooms by integrating Helmer Pass-Through refrigerators with RAC. Previously, personnel would drop off specimen samples directly into the grossing room refrigerator by trafficking through the Pathology lab standard doorway. This would cause disruption to dictation occurring in the grossing room.

RAC allows the Pathology lab to utilize a pass-through refrigerator located in the lab wall for secure specimen storage. Staff use the same RFID badge reader system already in place throughout the facility to gain access to the pass-through refrigerator. The new workflow maintains security of specimen storage while eliminating traffic for specimen drop off and resulting disruption inside the lab.

Security and Integration enhancements for temperature-controlled products:  Healthcare systems have integrated Helmer medical-grade temperature-controlled devices with 3rd party access control systems to allow control of refrigerator and freezer locks via software API or by using existing badge readers already in place at the facility.

RAC allows the customer to manage access to the refrigerator and freezer utilizing the same access management system already in place which eliminates the need for setting up and maintaining new keypad access codes, facilitates consistent procedures for staff and provides door access data to management. 

Controlled Access for large numbers of users:  Organizations have leapt beyond the maximum number of different keypad access codes allowed in standard medical-grade refrigerator or freezer door access locks. RAC allows organizations to remove the maximum number of user limitation by storing user validation information such as biometric data or personal pin numbers within the 3rd party validation software, rather than in the refrigerator or freezer control system. This integration allows both systems to independently do what they do best– control user access validation/management and securely store high value temperature sensitive products.


RAC improves workflows designed to secure and control access to temperature-controlled products by allowing facilities to use existing 3rd party validation systems, such as badge readers, to unlock doors to medical-grade refrigerators and freezers. This is just one example of a customer-driven enhancement developed through Helmer Custom Products. We are always looking for new ways to improve workflows through customizations; please let us know if you have ideas that can help your facility by emailing marketing@helmerinc.com!

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Jesse Smith

Written by Jesse Smith

Jesse is the Manager of Custom Products & Services and Sustaining Engineering at Helmer Scientific with a focus on delivering custom products to address unique customer needs, new product development, and sustaining & value engineering.

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