Page 15 - Security Today, July/August 2020
P. 15

“Video intercoms embedded into
ticket dispensing and revenue
control systems enable a two-way conversation with the hospital security team to resolve equipment problems.”
allowing them to access common areas while remaining protected from walking into dangerous areas. Often, equipment such as an X-ray device is misplaced. Tags may be configured to trigger an alarm if equipment is removed from a specific floor or department.
Nurse call systems enable patients to gain assistance by pushing a button or pulling a cord. These systems add health and safety to security while providing data to help optimize staffing, measure response times, and more.
Portable biometric readers are also gaining favor as a way of verifying patient identity. Handheld readers match a patient’s iris or facial patterns with a template stored on a chip in an ID brace- let. These systems help ensure a patient is receiving the correct drugs and treatments. Contactless iris and facial biometric systems also do not pass along diseases such as COVID-19.
The Emergency Department
Emergency departments (ED) are often dangerous places for medical professionals. A 2018 survey found more than 70 percent of nurses and nearly 50 percent of physicians have been hit or
kicked while treating ED patients.1
While the ED lobby door must remain open, entries to the tri-
age and treatment areas should remain locked. A receptionist, lo- cated behind bullet-proof glass, can press a button to electronically open doors.
Metal detectors, stationed at the entry and operated by a security officer, help keep weapons out of the ED. Security officers can monitor surveillance cameras aimed at the entrance and the lobby for a real- time view. Intercoms foster communication between staff and security.
Due to the potential for ED violence, best practices call for add- ing panic buttons to staff badges. Pressing the button signals to the access control system that informs security, initiates a lockdown and alerts other staff members.
The challenges of securing a hospital continue to change as pa- tient expectations evolve, staffs continue to grow, and treatment sys- tems become more complex and expensive. Also, there are unexpect- ed events such as the COVID-19 pandemic that place added burdens on security directors. Security professionals must use their experience and available tools to create a safe and secure environment for pa- tients, employees, and visitors.
Stephen Martorano is director of national ac- counts and director of national healthcare at Aiphone Corp.
1. Violence in the Emergency Department: Resources for a Safer Workplace; American College of Emergency Physicians
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