How to effectively protect medical facilities?
Medical facilities create an amazing security situation. By their nature, they are at great risk that other organizations do not have to deal with. Most medical facilities are open to the public and serve a wide range of people daily. Many buildings also include expensive drugs and even narcotic substances. In addition, recent changes in health policies are affecting day-to-day operations, and their consequences may not yet be fully realized. These factors, combined with the unpredictability of patient and community behavior, make healthcare facilities particularly sensitive environments that require special attention when it comes to safety.
Unfortunately, criminal activity is not alien to healthcare institutions. Thus, numerous studies of trends in the crime and security segment, conducted in 2012 and based on the responses of 208 healthcare organizations in the USA, showed that the number of crimes in medical institutions is growing. In just two years, from 2010 to 2012, these incidents grew by 37%. It should be borne in mind that these were recorded events. The US Department of Justice estimates that at least half of the crimes committed are not recorded. The reason that organizations do not report violations is partially considered that management does not want to lose credibility in the eyes of the public.
A lot of factors are provided, which contributes to an increase in the number of crimes in medical institutions. On the one hand, many enterprises are open to visitors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which can make them vulnerable. External disputes sometimes enter the healthcare environment, causing concern and putting staff and patients at risk. Some establishments have pharmaceuticals that can attract intruders, which increases the risk of robbery and violence. Another problem faced by such facilities is when the enterprise expands. When medical organizations acquire new facilities, it can be difficult to create consistency in reducing risks and implementing security systems.
Often medical facilities seek to use physical security to ensure the safety of staff and patients. However, in a changing economy and in the light of political changes, there is a risk of facing the problem of inappropriate costs. Therefore, many are inclined to introduce integrated security systems, which include access control , video surveillance, monitoring and burglar alarms.
Access control systems help restrict access to specific areas of an institution. This is relevant in sensitive areas such as pharmaceutical warehouses and data centers. Some heads of medical facilities note that long-term cost savings are foreseen due to the introduction of access control systems to storage and supply cabinets: for example, the need to change locks and replace lost or stolen access keys is eliminated. Access control also helps minimize or eliminate theft problem. When using various methods, such as proximity card readers or biometric readers, credentials are more difficult to duplicate or steal, which allows medical personnel to focus on what is considered the most important – on patients.
In addition to access control kits, CCTV cameras play a paramount role in crime prevention and overall security. A video surveillance system allows the organization to monitor the entire building, including areas that often remain unprotected (e.g. parking lots, lobbies). The presence of a controlled security system, especially with regard to video surveillance, helps to quickly alert the relevant authorities of an incident. In tandem with the monitoring service and the warning system , guards can notify the right personnel in an emergency or dangerous situation as they arise. Receiving a notification of an event in the form in which it occurs will allow you to take immediate action and prevent further damage.
Although crime statistics may seem intimidating, it is important to remember that many health facilities are generally considered safe. Nevertheless, as a medical worker or the head of an institution, one should take into account the risks specific to this organization, as well as ways to reduce them