It goes without saying that medical hospitals are busy places. Patients, physicians, employees, volunteers, and vendors alone translate to thousands of people every day – add visitors to the mix, and the total number rises by thousands or even tens of thousands every month.
As a matter of hospital safety and security, keeping track of every visitor is essential. You have patients and staff to protect, drugs and equipment to safeguard, and a duty to your community. Through sophisticated visitor management technology, you’ll more effectively maintain safety and security by controlling access to your facility. Visitor management systems can be invaluable to your organization. And, as more and more states pass legislation with higher standards for documentation and management of violence in the workplace, a good visitor management system can help hospitals 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. Violent crime in hospitals grew 25 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to the International Association for Healthcare Safety and Security – 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 our facility. In order to be aware of every person who enters the hospital, you should not only record every visit but you should 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 our hospital. When visitors leave, they should check out and relinquish their temporary IDs.
The physical structure of a hospital 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 milling around, and it becomes all too easy to lose track of someone who may have harmful intentions.
For that reason, you should empower your employees to challenge anyone they see without a badge. Train your staff to approach unidentified visitors and politely ask if they need assistance (and ultimately, lead 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.
The Badge Rule Applies to Everyone
Another best practice to implement is to require everyone on 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.
The important thing for all hospital employees, volunteers, vendors, and visitor to understand is - security is everyone’s responsibility. Visitor management can seem complex, but with the right staff training – and the right technology to support it – you can take steps to create a safer and more secure hospital environment.
Ready to improve the security of your hospital? Visitor Management from symplr is an easy-to-use and easy-to-implement web-based visitor screening solution that protects your 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 Visitor Management from symplr, schedule a demo now.