Healthcare Security: HIPAA, OSHA and Beyond

What integrators need to know to better serve hospitals and healthcare facilities


As the security systems inside hospitals become more complex, hospitals are increasingly looking for a way to manage all of the data. Not only do hospitals need to manage hundreds, if not thousands of surveillance cameras and access control points, but they also need to keep track of panic alarms, medical alerts from infant abduction systems, and mass notification systems, among others.

Today, the possibilities are endless when it comes to the type of systems being installed, and as to how they are being used. While it may have worked five or 10 years ago for these systems to operate independently, that is no longer the case, as more security directors must take an integrated approach with the security technology and management of these systems.

So now, when the access control system sends an alert that a door has been left open, a security operator in the hospital facility can use surveillance to check on that alarm and why it sounded. Was it because someone propped open the door with an object or is there something else going on?

For the security integrator, this means it is paramount to understand how to integrate systems and which approach is right for a customer. Should the hospital install a video management system, or an enterprise level access control system, or a unified client? These are all questions that should be answered up-front with the hospital or healthcare executives.

 

Benefits of a Long-Term Relationship

In the healthcare field, developing a long-term relationship between the integrator and the healthcare security director can prove rewarding. Healthcare security directors like to work with contractors who are familiar with their facility — that goes beyond knowledge of the layout of the facility, but familiarity with the hospital’s policies and procedures.

Regarding layouts, many large hospitals have tunnels and employee access-only areas. Being familiar with these areas can help support taking a discrete approach and not being disruptive to the daily operations of the hospital, such as when hauling equipment. Sending the same technicians to work at a healthcare client’s facility can also help reduce the amount of time the hospital security staff needs to spend escorting technicians.

Understanding a hospital’s policies can make the difference between providing an accurate quote for a job and underbidding the job, thereby costing the installation firm money. Some facilities may require a two-person technician team at all times when installing surveillance cameras, but if this is not factored into the initial cost of a project, it could turn into an expensive mistake for the systems integrator.

Certainly providing security solutions in the healthcare market has its challenges, in terms of understanding regulations and new technologies, but it also has its benefits. It is considered to be a somewhat recession-proof market and a growing industry, as the population in North America continues to age.

While hospitals may cut down on spending from one year to the next, hospitals do need to continue to maintain their current systems. And that’s where the systems integrator comes in.

 

John R. Krumme, CPP, is President of Cam-Dex Security Corp., and a member of Security-Net, a global provider of security integration services. He can be reached by email at jkrumme@cam-dex.com. To request more info about Cam-Dex, visit www.securityinfowatch.com/10703022; to request more info about Security-Net, visit www.securityinfowatch.com/10601499.