20 Oct 2021
Security and Healthcare: 7 Tools for Keeping Facilities Safe
For many individuals in healthcare, their world was flipped upside down due to the pandemic. Because of this, it’s now more vital than ever for hospitals and other facilities to balance security with a welcoming and healing environment. This goal requires a unique and comprehensive approach that involves security leaders and members of the IT department and C-suite.
Central to this idea is implementing a multilayered plan that incorporates innovative security solutions, staff and physician security protocol training, and the ability to obtain full situational awareness of the facility. It is also paramount that the systems that help keep a healthcare facility safe and functional integrate into a comprehensive operational picture. The use of security solutions, such as access control, video, and intrusion, gives healthcare security leaders peace of mind as they collect and interpret a large quantity of data that provides more insight into the inner workings of the facility and keeps people within the walls safe from outside threats
7 Necessary Tools for Healthcare Security
To manage risk and address some of the challenges that healthcare facilities face, there are several systems and solutions that can be implemented, especially using access control as a basis from which to address security. Access control encompasses main entrance doors and internal entrances and exits based on location and access level. In addition, many sectors of a hospital have complex needs for role-based access control.
More importantly, hospitals need a system that will enable them to carry out these restrictions while dealing with large traffic volumes. Implementing a security management system (SMS) can integrate a facility’s access control technologies, digital video, and alarm monitoring systems into a single, streamlined solution. Below we will be discussing the seven necessary tools that should be implemented in a healthcare security infrastructure.
Hospitals have hundreds – if not thousands – of employees requiring varying access levels based on their roles within the facility. Custom configurable data management systems that integrate with third-party systems, such as human resources, personnel management, and event management systems, can help streamline and automate business workflows between systems.
This assists security administrators in ensuring the right people have the proper access. It also reduces the workload of system administrators by eliminating costly data entry errors that can potentially result in threats to the safety and security of patients, visitors, and staff. The result is the ability to streamline data input with the push of a button.
Lockdown capabilities are paramount within today’s healthcare market, driving access control manufacturers to provide solutions that make it easy for security directors to control access quickly and efficiently in the event of an emergency. End users are also looking for mobility, and having a mobile application to help grant access, freeze access or change permissions easily is vital in this vertical market, along with the ability for security teams and professionals to move freely throughout the facility.
Access Control and Video Integration
Security administrators must remain aware of any alerts from the security operations monitoring center among healthcare and hospital facilities. The integration between access control and video surveillance plays a critical role in the ability of these officials to make quick, effective decisions regarding an emergency.
In fact, access control systems can generate alarms such as invalid badges, a door being forced open, and doors being held, but coupling those alerts with video allows the operator to make decisions based on what is happening without having to dispatch a roving guard to the area of concern. Not only is the action quick and decisive, these guards now can be used for additional coverage in busy lobbies or for bolstering perimeter protection.
Video Masking and Patient Privacy
At the core of any healthcare facility is the goal of protecting patient privacy. In the United States, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) Security Rule sets national standards for protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronically protected health information that a covered entity or business associate creates, receives, maintains, or transmits. Internationally, other regulations exist, including the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) that regulate patient records and other sensitive information.
In many facilities, biometrics are being used, as well as video masking to protect important information from would-be hackers. This way, only authorized users have access to the information. Integrating video data and access control increases situational awareness among a facility’s security teams, allowing them to evaluate potential threats before they become serious events.
Restricted Access and Protection of Pharmaceuticals
Sensitive materials, such as narcotics, require added protection and protocols, along with strict access restrictions based on varying roles for staff and physicians. Medical files and controlled substances must be protected with electronic access-controlled cabinet locks to provide hospitals and administrators with the required audit trail in the case of a breach.
Multilayered Approach to Access Control
Security managers can secure the entire facility by seamlessly integrating systems through a centralized platform, like SMS. Taking various pieces, such as access control, intrusion, video and video management, fire alarms, infant protection systems, and emergency towers, and bringing them together to formulate a single operational picture for security operators is necessary for protecting a hospital or healthcare facility. The ability to bring these together should be one of the main goals of an integrator when working with these facilities.
End users in healthcare are looking for mobility. Having a mobile application to help grant access, freeze access or change permissions instantaneously is essential to security administrators. Additionally, with large hospital campuses, security teams and professionals need to stay on the move throughout a facility. Mobile applications allow these officials to control systems remotely without client software in place, which can give healthcare facilities and hospitals the flexibility to provide access as needs change
Healthcare facilities must provide safety and security for visitors, patients, staff, and assets. The ability to lock down portions of a hospital or an entire facility is crucial to its ongoing operations. Additionally, having a system in place that allows security officials to communicate these rules quickly and efficiently through an easy-to-use interface is the key to adhering to the rules and regulations that govern healthcare facilities. Access control is critical to the success of these stakeholders, and being able to integrate with data management platforms can make this task more manageable than ever before.