Masonicare is Connecticut’s largest not-for-profit integrated senior care continuum. With residential living, skilled nursing and rehabilitation, senior hospital, home health care, homemaker companion and hospice and palliative care, Masonicare cares for thousands of patients and residents every day.

Based in Wallingford, Conn., Masonicare employs nearly 2,300 people and has locations across the state, including Chester, Derby, East Hartford, Mystic, Danielson and Norwalk. 

Ensuring the safety of its residents, patients and employees is of high importance at Masonicare. Priorities include preventing residents in wheelchairs from being able to open a door to a stairwell, where they would be at risk of serious injury; keeping patients with memory loss or other cognitive impairments safe and in one area; having pharmacy doors locked down to prevent misuse of narcotics; and making certain that facilities are locked at night and opened in the morning.

Consequently, access control is at the heart of its security measures. To control the access to its doors, Masonicare has 145 Isonas readers installed across its various locations. While the readers themselves were functioning, the legacy software that was managing the readers was creating major headaches for the organization.

“Doors always went down, costing us hours of work because we drove from one location to another to get a door back online,” said Tyler Timek, IT security engineer at Masonicare. “The root cause was the legacy software. We needed to find the right access control software to control the readers at our doors.”

When any door went down and could not be locked, the heightened risk threatened the safety of residents, patients and employees. One door going offline could result in a resident in a wheelchair falling downstairs or someone’s grandmother with Alzheimer’s wandering out of the building and onto the street at night. Furthermore, in two of the buildings, a lockdown feature is used, so control of all the doors is imperative to ensure a complete lockdown in case of an emergency. Not only was Masonicare’s reputation on the line, but lives were at risk.

Masonicare consulted with its integrator, A+ Technology and Security Solutions. The integrator knew that the legacy software was no longer going to be supported by its manufacturer, which was leaving Masonicare in a bad spot.

“We came in, looked at the future more strategically and suggested that Masonicare look at Open Options because Open Options had taken on support of Isonas,” said Jeffrey Sweeney, sales manager at A+ Technology and Security Solutions. “Knowing how well Open Options approaches software development, we were confident they would continue to support Masonicare well into the future, without the need for a forklift upgrade that other access control solution providers would painfully require.”

Masonicare selected Open Options’ DNA Fusion as its new software platform to manage its access control. DNA Fusion was able to integrate with its Isonas readers, which were all kept in place; therefore, no forklift upgrade was needed, saving costs.

“DNA Fusion software is very easy to use,” Timek said. “Installation of this software from Open Options was quick, and it’s easy to add readers to the platform. The process to move over each reader took only about two weeks, exceeding our expectations. ... Readers do not randomly go down anymore. It’s a very different experience from when we were using the legacy software.”

The old, legacy software used to take hours to update the devices at all the sites — particularly pushing out permissions for new employees. With Open Options software, it takes less than one minute for all sites to be updated with the latest security information, he added.

“The improvement in performance was an immediate benefit for Masonicare,” Sweeney said. “Expandability, namely the ability to add wireless locks where it made more sense than rewiring for readers, was another benefit, as well as Masonicare taking advantage of the integrations that come along with Open Options.”

The enhanced capabilities of DNA Fusion enable Masonicare to confidently use lockdown buttons at two locations, controlling access levels to different areas. Also, the new platform increased the reliability of using time schedules on specific doors.

Enhancing the efficiency of operations, the Open Options software was installed in the IT and HR departments at Masonicare.

“The software is so easy to use that we were able to grant HR users the ability to add users and give access as well as remove access,” Timek explained. “This takes some of the burden off IT and equips HR with the ability to move faster and be more efficient in their processes to onboard and offboard employees.”

Supporting the customer with its next-level Connect Care services, Open Options provided access that connected Masonicare to its ultimate goals to protect and enrich lives, from door to door, with one of the most advanced open platform access control solution on the market today.