A good dose of TLC keeps integrators as trusted partners to healthcare customers. Many systems integrators work years developing ongoing relationships in this segment. They help with security and safety and ongoing training that may include disaster planning and active shooter scenarios. They assist in many ways that go above and beyond traditional systems solution contracting—while at the same time staying on top of numerous regulations and compliance, including privacy concerns and more.
This type of handholding often has a customer coming back to an alarm dealer or systems integrator again and again. The customer knows they can count on the service provider to clue them in on new technologies and systems—that work and often, nix those they know won’t be feasible or within budget. But most of all they keep the lines of communication open and that keeps healthcare clientele ‘sticky’ and coming back for more.
The payback can be big. Having a good relationship often means that a project doesn’t go out for the traditional bid-spec—a scenario that savvy and tuned-in companies try to avoid if at all possible.
Suffice to say, it isn’t easy championing the healthcare market. Each type of facility—hospital, urgent care, assisted living, and on and on, is really a community within itself. The nuances of each location are often indicative of the area in which the facility is based. For example, in high-crime areas, violence and shootings often further erupt in emergency rooms where gang members may seek retaliation, or distraught family members have gathered. Personnel in hospitals—from doctors to nurses to other staff, need to be cared for as well with safety procedures and technology such as video escorts after hours. The dynamics of the healthcare market are riddled with regulations and compliance, codes and standards, enough to make your head spin.
Then there are the visitors to the hospital. There are slip and fall liability issues, contagious disease and containment and ‘hot spots’ such as the aforementioned emergency rooms or drug dispensary areas. In addition, the capital goods at hospitals now include high-tech systems and services, including laptops, tablets, smartphones and other connectivity and communication devices that need to be safeguarded from theft and also meet HIPAA privacy laws so sensitive patient records don’t get into unwanted hands. Bring Your Own Device is another emerging issue—and one that will continue in the forefront as NFC becomes more widespread. The list of safety and security issues for hospitals and healthcare environments continues to evolve.
Guns are another issue that healthcare providers have become acutely aware of and training for active shooters has become a valuable tool for hospital personnel. According to Lisa B. Pryse, CHPA, CPP and president, ODS Healthcare and Chief of Company Police in Richmond, Va., much attention is being given to mitigation against an active shooter situation.
“Many hospitals are determining that they have multiple unimpeded access points into their facilities as well as a significant amount of glass windows and doors at these access points,” she said. Pryse currently is the president of the International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety (IAHSS), based in Glendale Heights, Ill.
The mechanics of working with healthcare
With that in mind, she added that end users at these facilities are looking for affordable access control solutions which meet their needs as well as life safety requirements. “It is imperative that door alarms and CCTV be integrated with access control,” Pryse added.
Physical security in the parking lots and at remote facilities is very important as well, she added. “CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) aligns with the ‘Rings of Security.’ The outer perimeter rings should have some physical security protection (fencing, access control gates for certain areas, CCTV cameras, emergency call boxes, thick shrubs, lighting, etc.). As you move closer to the facility, the physical security should increase (access control doors, alarms, additional CCTV.)”