Challenges in Healthcare Facility SecurityParking lot security is a crucial part of overall healthcare facility security. Because of the vast size and relative anonymity of parking lots, they are prime locations for criminals looking to rob, assault, and otherwise harm people entering or leaving the hospital, clinic, etc., particularly during the evening hours. The case of Carlie Beaudin is just one of many examples of crimes taking place at healthcare facilities — and the importance of robust security. Carlie Beaudin was a nurse practitioner employed by the Medical College of Wisconsin and Froedtert Hospital. She was beaten and left under a car in the freezing cold by a man in the parking lot of the hospital when she was leaving at the end of her shift. She eventually passed away a few hours later. In addition to violent attacks like the one against Carlie, plenty of other hospital workers, patients, and visitors are victims of burglary and auto theft in parking lots.
Additional Security ChallengesAlong with parking lot security, there are many other security challenges that hospitals and other healthcare facilities face, including the following:
- Violence, harassment, etc., between workers
- Abuse from workers to patients
- Patient wandering
Key Security Measures for Healthcare FacilitiesFor healthcare facilities — as well as those working in them or visiting them as patients, family members, etc. — a multi-pronged approach to security is critical. The following are some crucial aspects administrators and security professionals should keep in mind when devising a plan for their facility:
Outdoor SecurityThe first layer of defense for healthcare facilities is a carefully planned outdoor security system. This system starts at the outer perimeters of the hospital, clinic, etc., as well as the parking lot or parking garage.
CamerasOutdoor cameras surveil the parking lot and the grounds of the hospital or clinic, keeping a close eye on who is coming and going. These cameras can also capture license plate numbers and other important information that can serve as evidence in investigations.
Bright LightingBright lighting plays an integral part in enhancing outdoor security and deterring criminal activity. Installing more lights — and maintaining them regularly to ensure they always allow for maximum visibility — is a simple and effective way to make parking lots, garages, and facility grounds safer. Bright lighting also allows security camera systems to function more effectively. Installing outdoor security cameras throughout the facility grounds will provide peace of mind to visitors, patients, and staff entering and leaving the building.
Indoor SecurityAlong with robust outdoor security, healthcare facilities must also invest in rigorous indoor security measures. Even the smallest healthcare clinics typically experience high volumes of traffic coming in and out and have valuable assets that must be protected at all times. There are several strategies that facilities can use to improve indoor security, including the following:
Access ControlIt shouldn’t be easy for people to enter the inner portions of a hospital or healthcare clinic. Stringent access control using things like keycards or biometric scans helps to manage those coming in and going out and ensures that only authorized personnel can access certain locations.
Security GuardsSecurity guards can patrol the halls and monitor the entryways/exits of healthcare facilities to further manage who enters the building. The physical presence of security guards, especially combined with other measures, can significantly deter trespassers, thieves, and others.
Panic ButtonsTo protect healthcare workers from violence (committed by colleagues, patients, intruders, etc.), consider giving them panic buttons to wear during their shifts. These buttons allow them to call for help with just one push, which can help them feel empowered and ensure they get the support they need as soon as possible.
AlarmsAlarms can alert everyone in the hospital when something goes wrong — be it an unauthorized person entering the facility, a patient wandering, or anything in between — and spurn everyone to take action to correct the problem right away.
CamerasCameras don’t just belong on the exterior of the hospital or clinic. They also belong indoors in the lobby, hallways, etc. Strategically placed interior cameras help security personnel monitor what’s happening throughout the facility. Their presence, like the presence of security guards, can also deter criminal acts.
Staff Training in Security ProtocolsInvesting in cameras, alarms, and additional security measures like those mentioned above is vital to healthcare facilities’ safety. These modalities aren’t truly effective, though, unless they’re paired with comprehensive staff training and carefully detailed protocols for effective incident management. The following are some suggestions for how healthcare clinics, hospitals, and other facilities can level up staff training to maximize the results of their security plans:
Analyze Existing Security RisksPractical staff training starts with an in-depth analysis of the facility’s existing security risks. For example, managers or other leaders may patrol the grounds and note the lack of lights in the parking lot or the lack of security guards at the front entryway.
Establish Strict StandardsThe information gathered from the analysis should be used to establish strict safety standards and protocols. These standards might include rules regarding the number of security guards who must be present at any time or how people are required to check in when they arrive at the hospital for their shift.
Educate on Security EquipmentIf employees are expected to use certain types of equipment, such as panic buttons, they should receive sufficient education on when and how to use these tools.
Seek and Respond to FeedbackSome staff may be hesitant to adopt new safety and security policies because of the additional effort they add to their day-to-day workflows. Allowing them to be part of the protocol creation process — and letting them deliver feedback throughout the process — can ensure the changes genuinely help them feel safer at work and aren’t too cumbersome or unrealistic.
What to Look for in Healthcare Facility Security CamerasHealthcare structures of all kinds and sizes can benefit from high-quality indoor and outdoor security cameras. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when choosing cameras for a specific facility:
- Number of camera views per unit: Look for at least four camera views per unit to maximize visibility and ensure you can see as much of the property as possible.
- Mobile app access: Mobile apps allow you to view surveillance footage no matter where you’re located or when you want to check-in.
- Live monitoring: When cameras are monitored in real-time by trained security personnel, you can experience added peace of mind and respond more efficiently and effectively when emergencies arise.
- Loudspeaker: Loudspeakers enable you to communicate with people on the scene to find out what’s happening, let an intruder know they’re being watched, etc.
- Thermal cameras: Thermal cameras can help you pick up on changes in temperature and detect fires sooner.
ConclusionA comprehensive security strategy is vital to healthcare facilities to protect patients, staff, and sensitive information. Those who are concerned about patient safety or staff protection should follow the guidelines shared above as a jumping-off point for devising a more robust security plan. If you’re looking for security cameras and additional security technology that can protect your healthcare facility, Mobile Video Guard offers a range of systems and solutions that can help. Get in touch today to learn more or request a free quote.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Healthcare Facility Security
Healthcare facilities encounter various security challenges, including physical assaults, theft, trespassing, patient wandering, data breaches, and cyberattacks.
Mobile security technology, including surveillance cameras, alarms, and lighting systems, plays a critical role in deterring crime, protecting staff, patients, and visitors, and ensuring prompt response to security threats.
The case of Carlie Beaudin, a nurse practitioner who was assaulted in a hospital parking lot, underscores the importance of robust security measures in parking areas to prevent crimes and ensure the safety of individuals entering or leaving healthcare facilities.
Outdoor security measures for healthcare facilities include the installation of surveillance cameras, bright lighting, access control systems, and regular patrols to monitor parking lots, grounds, and perimeter areas.
Indoor security measures may include access control systems, security guards, panic buttons for staff, alarm systems, and strategically placed surveillance cameras to monitor interior spaces, corridors, and entryways.
Healthcare facilities can enhance staff training by analyzing existing security risks, establishing strict safety standards and protocols, educating staff on security equipment usage, and actively seeking and responding to feedback from employees.
When selecting security cameras, healthcare facilities should consider features such as multiple camera views per unit, mobile app access for remote monitoring, live monitoring capabilities, loudspeakers for communication, and thermal cameras for temperature detection.
To ensure transparency and cost-effectiveness, healthcare facilities should carefully review contracts from surveillance camera providers, avoiding long-term commitments and hidden fees, and seeking clarification on terms and conditions before signing agreements.