Establishing a Comprehensive Hospital Security Plan
Hospital Security Plan
Most people outside of the physical security and healthcare fields don’t realize the increased levels of criminal behavior hospitals are exposed to. Institutions meant to be places of peace and healing are actually common targets for crimes like theft and violence. Security technology plays an increasingly significant role at healthcare facilities today and will continue to do so well into the future.
Why hospitals need a physical security plan
Here are some of the top risks hospitals must deal with every day:
Hospitals in the U.S. experience high rates of violent crime. Between 2012 and 2013, the rate of violent crimes committed in hospitals increased by 25 percent, according to research from the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety. Hospital staff members are often subjected to physical threats and assault from patients and visitors, calling for a comprehensive physical security plan designed to protect them.
More and more hospitals today employ physical security technology including visitor management systems, access management, and video surveillance to help keep security staff better aware of who is in the hospital at any given time and to keep an eye out for potential incidents and suspicious individuals. Healthcare facilities are also incorporating panic alarms and motion sensors throughout the premises that link to the facility’s security network to enable faster notification and emergency response.
Theft of medication and patient information
Like most busy facilities, hospitals are general targets for theft, vandalism, and other low-level criminal activities. Theft of medication and patient information is a separate concern altogether, and these crimes have become more prevalent in recent years. Statistics show that medication theft alone costs the industry millions of dollars each year and can lead to pernicious drug shortages.
Today, many hospitals secure their medication and supplies with video surveillance and access control technology.
Child and infant abductions
Child and infant abductions, one of the most disturbing security threats facing hospital security personnel, happen every year. Between 1983 and 2009, 127 infant abductions were reported from healthcare facilities, motivating many hospitals to implement tighter security plans.
Now, most facilities have implemented the use of RFID wristbands to ensure that children and infants cannot be taken out of the hospital without triggering an alarm alerting staff to a potential abduction. Specific hospital locations have elevator security locks in place to prevent young patients from being taken from pediatric areas.
In healthcare settings, episodes of disorderly conduct can have lethal consequences, even when they’re non-violent. Any time physicians, nurses, and staff members are distracted by attempts to control patients and visitors, the focus of caring for patients is compromised. In healthcare facilities that experience high levels of disorderly conduct events, patient care most likely suffers.
The rate of criminal conduct in America’s healthcare facilities is on the rise. However, by employing proven physical security technology including visitor management systems, access management controls, video surveillance and other campus-wide security protocols, hospital security personnel can deter and mitigate criminal activity.