December 6, 2012

Hospital Security. 10 Areas to Focus On.

Since hospitals are generally easy to walk into and wander around inside, electronic security needs to be as strong as possible to compensate. Especially with violent acts occurring nationwide, such as those by disgruntled patients.

Decision makers certainly want effective hospital security, but they tend to not desire an overly present force—they don’t want to raise fears. So there can be a challenge to provide both sufficient personnel as well as an abundance of electronic security while maintaining a relaxed environment.

Hospital security is needed due to the fact that hospitals themselves are also targets. They house expensive equipment, computers, drugs, even precious babies that can be the center of controversy. We’ll cover these, as well as other areas in the ten points that follow.

We’ll talk about how the main tenants of security (CCTV, Access Control and more) apply.

ER and waiting room. Access control and video surveillance are important in these areas. In regard to access control, a focus must be made between these two areas in order to limit who can enter the emergency department from the very public waiting room. Emotions run high and family members are desperate to see their relatives inside, but the professionals need the space to do their work. A proximity or swipe card system can be in place to only allow authorized personnel to enter.

Video surveillance will allow the security department to monitor any disturbances in this aforementioned cauldron of emotion and public gathering during tense situations.

Pharmacy and other drug concentrations. Access control can be used where credentials are required to be presented to a card reader so an audit trail is established. This way, a record is kept of who came and went, and when. Video surveillance can even be used in conjunction with video analytics software to trigger an alarm in the security office if a person enters during an unauthorized time, etc.

Administraton / record keeping. Due to HIPPA standards, for instance, access control is necessary in these areas to establish the audit trail mentioned above.

Nurse stations / patient rooms. Nurse call stations are essential for patients who require critical and timely care. A simple press of a button summonses the nurse station from the patient’s room.

Intercom can also be set up inside the patient rooms.

Ambulance ports / parking lots / loading docks. Security departments need to have a solid grip on these exterior locations via video surveillance. Ambulance entrances need to be kept clear and monitored for proper personnel to be present. Thefts and accidents happen in parking lots and garages, so having video evidence to solve disputes and help catch thieves and vandals is effective. And finally, loading docks can be loose in their access control. Having card readers to solidify who can enter and exit with proper authority and having security cameras for the security department to be able to monitor are essential.

For instance, employee theft of expensive equipment can occur through this area.

Retail / other cash handling areas. This goes without saying. Security Cameras, especially megapixel technology which allows for better facial recognition than traditional analog security cameras, not only provides evidence of a robbery or theft, but also provides a deterrent.

Panic buttons that transmit to the security department or to police can be set up under the cashier’s counter also.

Maternity / nursery. You can’t argue that this is the most valued of all areas to protect. Access control in conjunction with video can be used at the department entrance so the nurse station can control who enters, and just as importantly, who exits.

Ankle bracelets can be worn on the babies’ legs to trigger an alarm if they’re carried out past a certain point.

ICU / Surgical areas. Just like controlling entry to the ER as we mentioned earlier, access control needs to be established for entry into these highly sensitive departments.

Psychiatric unit. Video surveillance and “wander alarms” will help the security department and nurses control the retention of patients inside this department. Wander alarms trigger if a door or window is opened. The caregiver’s pendant vibrates or buzzes to indicate that the patient has opened a door or window and is about to leave.

Elevators / corridors / lobbies. These highly public areas require video surveillance for security to maintain order. Among the things that can be done with the aforementioned video analytics software is to people-count. This helps with personnel positioning, staffing, etc.

The above are certainly not the only areas in a hospital that require security, but these ten certainly would be considered important nonetheless.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.


Contact our commercial security systems firm