With the great advances that have gone on in security technology over the past few years, from hi-tech cameras to biometric access control, hospitals can benefit greatly by leveraging some of these latest trends, including better security and safety for staff and patients, and increased overall ROI for the hospital.
New software and technology is making it easy to integrate and manage systems within the hospital, such as fire, security, video and IT, providing even greater savings that can be had through efficiencies. With so many access points and areas that need to be under surveillance, taking advantage of the latest access control products and cameras today can help a hospital save money on the overall management of facilities, staff, visitors, and assets.
The following is a look at some security trends that should be on hospital security director’s radar, as they can help hospitals to solve some common problems while providing advantages that go beyond just security.
Access Control/Biometrics at Hospitals
The hospital environment provides some unique challenges because there is such an interplay between areas where you want varying levels of security and other areas that are open to the public. Plus, there is the added challenge of securing medicine, drugs and medical records, etc., while making sure the right staff members are given access to the areas they need with ease and convenience.
One way that hospitals are getting better control over this hectic environment is with the use of the latest in access control technology, from proximity cards and devices to biometric access, which is growing in popularity. For hospitals, biometric access is ideally suited, so using facial or iris recognition to open doors for doctors and nurses, allowing them to avoid contact with germs, for example, is highly beneficial.
Plus, using a combination of biometric and other access control devices, a hospital can require double authentication for access to high-security areas such as higher-class medicines.
Employee Management/Training Software for Hospitals
By integrating your access control, video surveillance and security systems and controlling them from one platform allows a hospital to manage their systems using software, and leverage the data being produced to provide operational efficiencies and savings. For example, integrating your access control with your employee onboarding/credentialing and training process can not only streamline the process but save time and make the overall access control system more secure. For example, adding or removing of a credential can be done in real time from a computer or mobile device.
Being able to minimize the time spent managing employees provides substantial savings, especially with such a high turnover rate with security guards and other hospital employees. Having an online management system in place allows a hospital to create a standardized onboarding and orientation process that includes the issuing of certain security clearances and access privileges based on certain training levels that have been attained, for example.
Video/Data Analytics at Hospitals
Many cutting-edge hospitals are taking advantage of video surveillance advances to prevent and investigate fraud charges and to help investigate any incidents that have occurred that may be of a criminal nature. This is one area where a hospital can see a lot of return on investment, as many lawsuits can be avoided, for example, if there is clear video evidence that can be accessed quickly and easily.
In the area of investigations, the potential for savings here is great, as a hospital can use its video surveillance footage and data to potentially get back hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in assets, such as property that is either lost or stolen, as well as provide risk mitigation and defer litigation.
Advances in technology are also transforming the way hospitals manage their video surveillance systems, revolutionizing today’s security operations centers. For example, today’s video management systems eliminate screen fatigue for security officers looking at video footage all day. With today’s systems, the security guard will be alerted when a sensor is tripped, so he only sees video footage that is of concern, and does not have to waste time sorting through static footage.
Emergency Preparedness for Hospitals
In today’s world, a big trend within security is emergency preparedness and many hospitals are instituting a comprehensive workplace violence prevention program that is managed through security. Security is tasked today with much more than just patrolling and looking at video surveillance screens. Many security departments are overseeing a number of programs to help staff to be better prepared for any threat, either internal or from the outside.
Toward that end, threat prevention and management training programs and computer-based learning modules on active shooter and workplace violence are growing in popularity. These programs, which many times are overseen and managed by senior security staff, can be required to be completed by staff over a certain period of time and can be part of the onboarding process for new employees.
“Many hospitals spend a lot of time and energy responding to emergency incidents after they happen,” Tom Smith, president of Healthcare Security Consultants Inc. and former president of the International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety, said in a study in the rise of threat management programs in hospitals. “It is very important to have plans and training in place for these types of incidents, but first we should focus on prevention. By this I mean effective workplace violence policies and procedures and a trained multidisciplinary threat assessment team.”
Parking Lot Management and Safety for Hospitals
Often one of the most overlooked areas of the hospital is the parking areas and garages, which are not only susceptible to crime, but also to unauthorized parking among guests and hospital employees, which is a major issue that many hospitals are eradicating with the use of video and license plate recognition, or LPR, technology. For example, having security vehicles that are equipped with video and license plate identification technology, combined with a strict parking policy, can be very effective in keeping employees and others from parking in unauthorized areas.
Some hospitals have been successful using this technology combined with a three strike rule, so an employee parking in an unauthorized spot, for example, is given a warning the first time, a small fine the second time, and then is suspended from parking in that lot after three offenses.
Make Your St. Louis Area Hospital Safe and Secure!
Overall, it is vitallyw important to work with a local and proven security professional who can show you how much of today’s new security technology can help hospitals be safer, more secure while minimizing losses through theft and fraud.