What security integrators can do to implement a successful hospital project
Author: William Pao, published on ASMAG
Hospitals increasingly turn to security technologies for protection. This note discusses how SIs can play an instrumental role in this regard.
Amid reports of violence against medical staff, hospitals now turn to security technologies to protect staff and assets. In this regard, systems integrators play a critical role in making sure that the project meets the hospital end user’s requirements. Below are things SIs can do to implement a successful hospital project.
Know user needs
For starters, the SI should gain a deep understanding of what the hospital user’s needs are. “Integrators should be able to listen to the needs and challenges faced by each hospital and its staff to ensure they implement useful and specific technology for those needs,” said Jermaine Santoya, Industry Marketing Manager at Genetec.
“To deploy hospital security systems, it is important for integrators to start with the process for human behavior. By understanding the process and the environment, they are then able to better understand the unique security needs of that facility. For example, a hospital in a rural community may have different needs than a hospital in the heart of downtown,” said Kyle Gordon, VP of US Field Sales at STANLEY Security.
As an example, the SI may want to listen to the end user on where violence is more likely to happen in the hospital, and deploy security accordingly.
“Violent incidents are more likely to occur in areas where the public meets the hospital staff. For example, an emergency room (ER), a lobby cafeteria and parking areas are the most likely to see violent incidents. In ER’s, there is the threat from irritated family members or potential patients who grow angry with long waiting lines. In parking lots and entrances, there are often issues with individuals loitering and even committing aggressive or violent acts towards others,” said Chris Sessa, Director of Key Accounts at Salient Systems.
SIs should also be knowledgeable of hospital-centric security technologies, which include and are not exclusive of: video surveillance, body-worn cameras, video analytics, access control, panic buttons and even metal detectors.
“Traditional metal detectors can play an important role in the hardening of healthcare security. However, there are two distinct pitfalls to consider: long lines with crowds and close contact with people who are handling your belongings. It’s a very high-contact process that, overall, slows down entry operations,” Gordon said. “Weapons and threat detection solutions are more robust than traditional metal detectors. Using AI technology, they are more accurate and can detect weapons without guests having to empty bags, allowing medical facilities and other organizations to streamline and simplify the screening process.”
To avoid these devices working in silos, a unified platform that integrates them and provides a single dashboard for the operator can be ideal.
"A unified open platform VMS can provide situational awareness to healthcare institutions, as well as an integrated approach. Panic button, nurse call and other alarm integrations into a video platform allow for a direct correlation of specific alarms to a direct video feed for immediate visibility of the situation – ultimately leading to a better, more intuitive response,” Sessa said. “Integration with access control or visitor management platforms can reduce the number of visitors for specific areas, such as lobbies, ER departments and other areas where people gathering can be an issue. Open platforms lead to a more flexible system that allows healthcare facilities to utilize technologies for their specific needs.”
“A fully integrated security system means more efficiency for the medical facility, which ultimately means having more capacity to serve the community and the patients. Without the integration of these solutions, hospitals are missing out on the huge impact of this technology to help manage operations and contribute to a safer and more secure healthcare environment,” Gordon said.
Think beyond traditional security
What’s more important, however, is that the integrator should think beyond conventional security. They should look at new technologies developed in recent years and see how they can meet hospital users’ complex needs.
“Integrators should not be afraid to look outside the traditional means of security. Video analytics, real-time location services, and license plate recognition are just a few of the technology advancements that can significantly improve the overall safety and situational awareness in a hospital," Santoya said, adding real-time location solutions can be especially helpful.
"Hospitals can go one step above access control by deploying a real-time location solution for staff and even patients. This technology would allow hospital security staff to precisely know where each individual is located on the premises, to complement access control and video monitoring,” he said.
Integrators should also be well-versed in relevant laws and regulations, especially in the area of privacy. “Like any installation, integrators should provide customers with a detailed threat assessment. They should also have an idea of basic healthcare practices for installation, as well as knowledge of any privacy policies,” Salient said. “On the privacy side, there are specific areas of a hospital where video can’t be recorded and overall HIPPA regulations to take into account.”
Privacy is particularly important in case solutions like analytics and body-worn cameras are used. “There are a number of things to consider when looking to roll out body-worn cameras. BS 8593:2017 Code of practice for the deployment and use of body-worn video is a useful starting point. It covers the 12 guiding principles of the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice, which aims to ensure that the purpose of a rollout is justifiable, appropriate and proportionate to the requirements of the person wearing it, while the privacy of those being recorded is respected,” said Chris Allcard, Lone Worker Services Director at Reliance Protect.