The Importance of Security in Hospitals
Safely Securing Your Staff, Patients, Visitors, and Facilities
The Necessity for Hospital Security is Larger Than Ever Before
For anybody entering into a hospital or a healthcare facility, security concerns should be the least of their worries. It is inherent upon any employer to offer the safest possible environment to their employees and to anyone entering their place of work. Healthcare professionals deserve the greatest level of protection as they serve their communities and those under their care. Hospital patients are in a vulnerable position during their stay and must also be afforded the correct levels of security from their caregivers and healthcare facilities. For these reasons, most hospitals take security issues very seriously. Further, hospital security policies are becoming even more strict to mitigate new security risks.
A huge swathe of individuals are required to visit these locations, whether they are their patients, staff, visitors, students or other service providers, it is important for all hospital facilities to have comprehensive security standards to protect these people, its contents and its physical infrastructure.
Why Do Hospitals Need Security?
Most hospitals are considered “soft targets” in terms of security. Soft targets are high-density locations that include crowded facilities and areas such as shopping malls, schools, and sports arenas. These soft targets generally have many access points, as well as limited security personnel or policies in place. Because of this, they may be more vulnerable to certain types of security risks.
In large hospitals, many people are coming and going at all times of the day. Threats of violence, theft, and other crimes are real risks in a hospital setting, and patients are at their most vulnerable state when they are unwell and admitted to a hospital. Without any security measures, hospitals can be easy targets for theft of medical equipment or the personal belongings of patients and staff members. Other disturbances such as unwanted visitors or visitors under the influence can cause unneeded stress to patients. Hospitals also have a large amount of personal data to protect, and this sensitive information should be protected with a security plan.
How Hospital Security Reduces Risk
Healthcare security professionals are tasked with “hardening up” the soft targets in hospitals. A comprehensive hospital security plan begins with a risk assessment. In this risk assessment, security professionals look for more vulnerable areas of the hospital, such as lobbies, entryways, and other access points in a physical assessment of the facilities. They may also look into other factors, including background checks of all employees or logistical issues with expensive equipment that may have been lost or stolen during delivery.
After a risk assessment is complete, hospital security standards are implemented in order to improve the overall safety of the facility and everyone in it. Hospital security often includes the following:
- Security guards: Experienced, licensed and trained security guards provide a physical presence at the hospital, controlling access points and keeping an eye on people entering and exiting throughout the day. The presence of security guards serves as a powerful and tangible deterrent to potential crime. Security guards can also respond quickly to disturbances and other issues in the building. Security guards trained in Basic Life Support (BLS) to add a further level of resilience.
- CCTV/Alarm Monitoring: A security camera system that includes CCTV monitoring serves as a preventative measure to crime within the hospital. It is also a powerful tool that can be used for gathering evidence of criminal activity, so the criminals can be properly prosecuted. It is crucial that a security team can respond to remote alarms at unmanned locations, due to the size of some healthcare facilities, this should be commonplace.
- Background checks: It is essential that all employees of the hospital meet rigorous standards to provide high levels of care and safety. Background checks specially designed for the healthcare industry provide an extra layer of security. Background checks for healthcare employees should include criminal checks, identity verification, sex offender status checks, verification of past employment, verification of education background, and drug screenings.
- Logistics security: It is often not just the staff, patients, and visitors that need security and monitoring. Hospitals are also busy with a variety of deliveries and the warehousing of necessary and expensive supplies. Healthcare security plans should cover the logistical areas of the facilities as well. Security can monitor the traffic flow in delivery and parking area, keeping an eye on any suspicious activity.
- Access Control: The restriction of access to sensitive areas is crucial when mitigating against risk. Technological solutions help segregate areas allowing only those with prior authorization to enter. Employee, vendor or visitor access can be revoked immediately ensuring potential threats are not realized.
COVID Solutions: With the high volume of ‘at risk’ people transiting through healthcare facilities it is clear why COVID-19 countermeasures are crucial. Security providers can assist in keeping the threat low through implementing thermal fever screening solutions, policy implementations and the issuing and the enforcement of PPE.
What Kind of Security Do Hospitals Need?
Hospital facilities are usually large campuses — sometimes encompassing multiple buildings and surrounding areas, like parking lots. There are often multiple access points for entry and a steady stream of busy activity going in and out of the buildings. A comprehensive healthcare security plan takes all of this into account and fully protects the staff, patients, and visitors in the hospital.
Safety and security in healthcare consider more than physical access points and placing guards at entryways. Hospital campuses have diverse and unique security needs. Different areas of a hospital also have specific purposes and security needs, such as pharmacies, operating rooms, and ICUs.
These incredibly sensitive and restricted areas may need additional security measures, such as biometric technology that uses fingerprints, facial recognition, and other human identifiers. These measures can restrict access to specific areas of the hospital to improve safety. For these more sensitive areas of the hospital, more thorough background checks may also be necessary. For example, anyone with a history of drug abuse or addictions may need to have restricted access to pharmacies and prescribing abilities.
Security of sensitive information is also of the utmost importance in hospitals. This includes protecting identifying details and health information of patients. For example, if patients will be in the hospital for an extended time and personal information is leaked, it would be easy to figure out homes that may be vacant. This is why both information security and employee background checks are extremely important. All staff members with access to sensitive information must be trustworthy and thoroughly screened.
Having the proper levels of security in a hospital can provide protection and peace of mind for all the patients treated at the facility. Hospital security responsibilities also extend to protecting the doctors, nurses, and all other staff members who deserve a safe workplace. The importance of security in hospitals is clear, and the benefits of proper security are wide-reaching.
Article Credit: https://www.silverseal.net/insights/the-importance-of-security-in-hospitals/