Hospitals host and temporarily house thousands or even tens of thousands of people every day. Patients, physicians, employees, volunteers, vendors, and visitors come and go through physical facilities and virtual access points.
As a matter of hospital safety and healthcare security, keeping track of every entrant is essential. You have staff, patients, and their family members to protect; drugs and equipment to safeguard; and a duty to your community.
Top hospital security concerns
When it comes to safety, site security is a top priority and thus many healthcare organizations use video surveillance and access control/security systems. Common access and visitor-related concerns include:
- Physical site security and general access control
- Communication issues surrounding security and access before, during, and after a breach
- Intrusion issues by individuals bent on causing harm
- Infrastructure and building challenges
The most important thing for all hospital employees, volunteers, vendors, and visitor to understand is that security is everyone’s responsibility. Healthcare compliance officers and security officers in all healthcare organizations need the support and attention of all staff members to adhere to regulations and to ensure compliance.
In addition, the knowledge and data required to improve safety at your healthcare organization keep changing—and your tools and processes must keep pace. Visitor management software systems can be invaluable to your organization. Through sophisticated visitor management technology, you’ll more effectively maintain safety and security by controlling access to any number of facilities that compose the system. And, as more states pass legislation instituting higher standards for documentation and management of violence in the workplace, a sound visitor management system can help meet reporting and audit requirements.
The importance of visitor IDs and tracking
The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that workers in healthcare settings are five times more likely to be victims of violent acts than the average worker. In addition, a survey by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) found that about eight in 10 emergency physicians believe the rate of violence in emergency departments has increased. The pandemic has only made things worse for medical staff, and those surveyed by ACEP agreed: 45% stated that violence has greatly increased over the past five years. And as we all know, the possibility of active shooters in our hospitals is an unfortunate reality. Part of a hospital security management job includes staying current on best practices for preventing and preparing for active shooters or other violent threats in a facility.
The physical structure of a healthcare facility complicates matters, driving an even greater need for visitor management technology. Most hospitals have multiple entrances, plenty of open public access (like your emergency department or clinics), and 24/7 availability. Add in shift changes, late nights, and the sheer number of people typically milling around any hospital, and it becomes all too easy to lose track of someone who may have harmful intentions.
The badge rule applies to everyone
It is leading practice to require everyone on the hospital staff and medical staff to wear their badges at all times while on hospital premises. No exceptions—without a badge, staff cannot work until they check in to the badging office to get a temporary badge, or go home and retrieve their own.
And in order to create a safe environment and to be aware of every other person who enters the hospital, you should not only record every visit but screen every visitor at every entrance. All visitors should identify themselves and state their reasons for being there, and they should wear a temporary ID badge at all times inside the hospital. When visitors leave, they should check out and relinquish their temporary IDs.
Empower your employees to challenge anyone they see without a badge—staff, provider, visitor, or other. Train your staff to approach unidentified individuals and politely ask if they need assistance. If the person is visiting, the staff member should accompany the visitor back to the entrance to complete proper check-in. By doing this, you’ll provide better service to well-intentioned visitors who simply got lost and somehow made it through the entrance without checking in, and you’ll create a second, less formal “checkpoint” by asking employees to watch for unidentified visitors and respond appropriately.
Vendors are visitors too; effectively manage vendor access
Comprehensive visitor access software manages visitors and vendors beyond the four walls of your health system or facility. Flexible vendor credentialing system makes it easy for compliant vendors to get the physical or virtual access they need, while you capture essential compliance and safety data.
Ready to improve the security of your hospital?
symplr Access Management is an easy-to-use and easy-to-implement web-based visitor screening solution that protects your hospital staff and patients by preventing unwanted access to your facility. Combine instant screening with audit logs and automated alerts for a comprehensive system designed with your hospital’s safety in mind. To learn more about healthcare security and Visitor Management from symplr, schedule a demo today.