The Value of Hospital Security Systems for Staff and Patients

In Healthcare, there must be meticulous planning in place for patient and staff safety, especially in light of mass shootings and attacks that fill our nation's news reports. Use of modern technology efficiently ensures the safety in your facility, assets and occupants. Security systems play a large role in risk mitigation, quality of care and maintaining compliance. Safety planning and high-quality systems and equipment combined can reduce accidents, negative outcomes, and legal liabilities. Decision makers in your organization are responsible for the big picture health of your facility, for example, minimizing environmental hazards, reducing occupational injuries, and preventing avoidable tragedies. Having a security system in place helps hospitals fulfill their goals and minimize events, but how do these systems effect the day to day of staff working in the facilities? The answer: security and comfort. Security systems should allow your staff to feel secure and comfortable, enabling them to provide the best quality care to your patients.

Surveillance Camera in hospital hallway

There are numerous fire and safety systems on the market. They address high priority security concerns in hospitals such as workplace violence, infant and pediatric abduction, emergency room safety, theft prevention, parking lot monitoring, and pharmacy control. Your staff may not see them working, but these security systems are working and monitoring in the background every day. Here are some examples of how security measures affect the environment of your facility.

Video Surveillance Systems

The use of IP cameras strategically placed throughout the facility provide monitoring, identification, insight and protection on live and recorded feeds. Stored video footage defends against false claims of injury on hospital property. Visual evidence can disprove assertions, saving hospitals pricy, unwarranted insurance claims. In addition, cameras can prevent potential break-ins while operators watch for troubled patients, issues with staff and unauthorized visitors in restricted areas. This evidence-quality video is also valuable evidence for police during criminal investigations that could lead to prosecution and conviction.

Video surveillance systems improve communication between coworkers, departments and buildings. For example, employee disputes are easily resolved with available footage to shed light on incidents in question.

Access Controls

Patients can be unpredictable. They may need to be quarantined quickly to prevent spread of disease or reduce risk of violence to others. Access Controls, or controlled entry points with limited access, can restrict admission to sensitive areas allowing facility security and maintenance the ability to know who is going where and when.   

Access Control Systems reduce the number of “touch points,” points of access where a staff member must physically make contact with an object in order to get through, such as a handle, push bar, keypad, or similar security device. In a hospital environment, where the spread of disease and illness is a major concern, touch points create a hazardous breeding ground for germs. Door readers, which read and authenticate a credential from a distance, remove the need for touching keys or keypads. Credentials are presented in the form of a smart card and doors can be programmed to open automatically upon verification.

Full of pharmaceutical drugs and expensive equipment, hospitals are highly susceptible to theft and abuse. According to a survey conducted by VHA, Inc., patient theft alone costs hospitals at least $52 million-a-year. However, theft of equipment and drugs is more preventable than ever. A strong, comprehensive Access Control System can improve overall security, decrease hospital liability, and increase patient and staff safety. It is estimated that between 3 and 10% of hospital expenditures could be saved if proper security were implemented, according to Tony York’s Hospital and Health Management. Drugs and equipment can be tracked through the system as they are moved from location to location within a hospital. Each pharmacy item and piece of hospital equipment can be fitted with tags that are scanned through each access point as they travel through. Need a piece of equipment in a hurry? The system also provides a rough estimate of equipment location so hospital staff can find it quickly.

Wireless Duress – ElPas

Staff wear a pendant or badge that notify dispatch of their location, level, unit and room, in the case of an emergency. In addition, Elpas sends a signal to the PA/Intercom system to announce room number for rapid staff assistance. The software records details of the badge holder name and location for easy reference. This system is used worldwide for its various applications including baby tagging, asset monitoring, elopement risk tagging, high fall risk (detects falls in the process) tracking. 

A functionality of ElPas, Mass Notifications provide loud-speaker and local notification alerts to all Via Christi staff and patients. These systems distribute emergency communications to hundreds of thousands of people through network-connected devices in minutes. Alerts are communicated in the form of audio, LED strobes, computers, phones and mobile devices. These systems are highly customizable. For example, to avoid the unnecessary panic of bed-ridden patients, the entire fire safety system can be programmed to project varying signals based on the healthcare facility area.

Historical pandemics such as smallpox and avian flu have overwhelmed health care infrastructures and spread quickly through populations. Because the potential impact of a pandemic is so great, health organizations must be ready to quickly respond to such an event in order to mitigate the damage. On the front lines, your Mass Notification System will deliver detailed and tailored communications based on the threat or scenario.

Not only do your facility’s security systems provide you physical safety, they also provide peace of mind. In light of recent national safety concerns, its time to consider investing in the highest-quality safety systems to keep your staff safe, comfortable and able to perform their jobs excellently. BCS can partner with you to find the best security solutions for your hospital. Contact us to get started. 


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