The Heartbeat of Healthcare

Opportunities offset challenges and regulations


How the healthcare market has changed over the last several years! Starting with HIPPA privacy regulations, increased OSHA compliance, mass and emergency notification and mobile developments—the market has been on a fast track to increased technology with mixed results. They are trying, but are hitting road bumps along the way, such as lack of funding and greater scrutiny on spending.

Hospitals and healthcare venues are complex organizations, and especially with regards to security, with disparate systems that now need to talk to each other in every way imaginable. But all this doesn’t happen overnight.

There is so much to protect at the healthcare facility: data, personnel, perimeters and visitors. In fact, healthcare is a melting pot of personnel and the community, with gang and domestic violence spilling onto the protected premises and perimeter. Couple that with the fact that healthcare is becoming more a hospitality venue—new facilities have places for family members to stay overnight or longer—the list of detection and protection challenges keeps growing.

Still, systems integrators with a focus on the niche find success in driving the right solutions to the end user. They are going into the premises as total solutions providers, becoming a trusted partner, especially for those organizations which might not be able to do everything they want when it comes to security and integrated solutions today—but knowing that they will be called on in the future when the time is right if they have helped the organization along the way. Integrators are focusing on the infrastructure that is in place and how they can add value by providing systems and services that will help the healthcare market move to new technologies in the future. For those with analog cameras, migration technologies in surveillance and storage are critical. Software that can help integrate access control with video and emergency notification is also high on the list of wants and needs.

Jim Stankevich, CHPA, is the manager of Healthcare Security for Software House, Tyco Security Products. He is one of only some 200 with the Certified Healthcare Protection Administrator (CHPA) credential, so he knows the ins and outs of the market. Stankevich is also president of the 2011 Board of Directors of the International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety (IAHSS), a leading organization which he said is critical for integrators to become involved in so they can understand the many challenges of the marketplace. IAHSS is dedicated to excellence in healthcare security, safety and emergency management and its goals are education, credentialing, growth and influence.

Workplace violence still being defined

Stankevich said one of the biggest challenges in the healthcare environment is workplace violence, which is yet to have a standard definition in the field. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration recently issued directive CPL 02-01-052, Enforcement Procedures for Investigating or Inspecting Workplace Violence Incidents. The directive is designed to establish general policy guidance and procedures for field offices when conducting inspections in response to incidents of workplace violence. It is the first enforcement documentation of its kind directed at industries susceptible to workplace violence (visit www.osha.gov/index.html). Another organization of importance in the vertical is The Joint Commission (TJC), formerly the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), a not-for-profit organization that accredits over 19,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the U.S.

“Collaboration between healthcare and security is finally coming around,” Stankevich said. “One of the solutions that healthcare organizations are looking at is wireless panic button technology with an RFID chip and intelligence that identifies a very specific location of the signal and the healthcare worker carrying the notification device. We are beginning to really have integration and identification—for example, having the wireless panic or other tied to access control to start cameras recording and lock doors.”

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