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A hospital is a unique place in terms of security. Many have multiple entrances, large campuses and a wide range of valuables from equipment to drugs. Designing a hospital security plan means taking into account the layout of the building as well as the ease of access for employees and patients. Remote security such as cameras and alarms in combination with security guards, keyed entries and staff procedures will help your administration keep everyone safe in the normal course of business. In addition, your plan should include procedures for both natural and man-made catastrophes that can affect the operation of the hospital.
Your first step in writing a hospital security plan is typically to conduct a risk assessment. The overwhelming majority of security problems include theft by employees and visitors, threats against staff and patients and criminal activity from outside. Your plan will need to address these risks and propose solutions for both reducing them and dealing with them if they arise.
Each department has its own hazards to consider. Emergency, where emotions may be high and needs immediate, typically has a higher incidence of violence. Hospitals in big cities may have gang problems because of conflicts that are brought into the hospital with injured parties. Parking lots carry theft and personal violence risks and infant care areas will need restricted access due to the threat of abduction. A thorough inspection of highly-vulnerable areas will enable you to address them in your hospital security plan.
Look at the vulnerability and possible threats to see what the risk is. For a large city hospital the risks will usually be significantly higher than that of a small town hospital, even if the smaller facility is more open. Measure existing security systems and see what needs to be added. A set of cameras may serve as a deterrent in some areas, where others will need a higher level of access control.
A low-tech hospital security plan involves training staff and security personnel as to access procedures, check-in and check-out, and restricting personnel who have access to drugs and confidential charts. With increased digitizing of patient records, security systems requiring a password can help protect sensitive information. Software consulting firms that specialize in electronic records management (ERM) may be available to work with you to figure out which system is best for your hospital. Remote cameras, door controls, and alarm systems are some of the high-tech physical controls available.
Administrators usually assess your hospital security plan and see if it works with the allotted budget. Making better use of existing security measures such as locks and training personnel to follow updated procedures may offer a more economical solution if vulnerability is low. An offset in legal liabilities could pay for itself if a more expensive plan lowers the incidence of occurrences that threaten safety and occupational health.
Your hospital security plan should include provisions for natural disasters. Hospitals are not immune to tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes, which can knock out power and damage buildings. You should consider evacuation procedures for patients and staff and backup energy sources. Man-made catastrophes such as bombings, industrial accidents and riots can quickly overwhelm a healthcare facility. In chaotic situations, a good hospital security plan can help everyone react appropriately so patients, staff and visitors are protected.
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