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9 Common Security Threats and Vulnerabilities of Hospitals

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Hospitals are busy facilities with a lot of moving parts and people. This also means they require a lot of consideration and customization when it comes to comprehensive security. Although hospitals will have unique vulnerabilities that need to be identified and addressed, there are some common themes across facilities. Here are some common security threats and vulnerabilities of hospitals:

1. Patient-Related Vulnerabilities

When it comes to hospital security, there are a lot of vulnerabilities related to patient protection and care. Not only do patients and their belongings need to be safe within the facility, but they also need to be able to communicate effectively with staff, alert when they need assistance, and be monitored to address changes in their condition during their stay.

Nurse call systems improve patient safety by giving patients and staff a way to effectively monitor and communicate needs. Not only does this give patients more freedom, independence, and peace of mind, but it also improves staff efficiency and helps provide better outcomes for patients across the board.

These systems can also be integrated with fall monitoring products, other patient engagement and communication systems, and more to make sure patients are safe and protected while in the hospital.

2. Violence Against Staff

Healthcare may be focused on healing, but patients and the public in high-stress environments can pose a threat to nurses and other hospital staff. Violence against staff, whether from members of the public visiting the hospital or from patients, is one of the common security threats and vulnerabilities of hospitals.

Having the right security systems in place and enough staff to support the facility and operations can help prevent workplace violence in healthcare. Nurse call systems, video surveillance, access control, and more can all be integrated and work together to help protect patients, staff, and visitors.

In addition to integrated systems, you can also work with your security systems integrator to customize alerts and systems to be specific to your operations overall, per unit, and more. This capability to establish systems and procedures facility-wide and for specific units, floors, and teams is a big benefit of integrated security systems.

3. Staff Burnout and Alarm Fatigue

Hospital staff deal with a lot and burnout is a serious concern in the healthcare industry. Not only does this negatively affect staff members and their health, but it can also have negative effects for patients and can resonate across the facility.

Patient calls, false alarms, and constant notifications can contribute to alarm fatigue and burnout. Nurse call systems with advanced features can help manage calls and alerts, which can help combat alarm fatigue in healthcare facilities. This alone won’t solve the problem of burnout, but having security systems in place to make it easier for staff to balance responsibilities and improve efficiencies can help reduce workplace stress.

4. Unauthorized Access

Strict access control is necessary for high-security healthcare facilities, like secure hospitals, and some sort of access control is necessary for any healthcare facility. Even if main entry points are publicly accessible, there will be parts of your building and facility that need to be protected and secure.

Whether it’s across different buildings on a hospital campus or secure areas within a facility, good access control solutions can ensure that protected areas stay secure. Not only does this help you monitor, manage, and maintain access for staff, but it is also useful when it comes to visitor management.

5. Visitor-Related Vulnerabilities

In addition to patients and staff, hospitals also have to consider visitor management. Visitors can be violent towards staff, patients, and other visitors. They can also bring in prohibited items that can cause issues or contaminate delicate environments.

Visitors can get lost and wander into areas they shouldn’t. They may steal items or access unauthorized information on purpose or inadvertently. Visitors can also bring in germs or diseases that can affect vulnerable patients. Hospitals can implement automated temperature monitoring and other screening techniques to help protect vulnerable environments and patients.

There are a lot of potential security threats and vulnerabilities that visitors can create for hospitals. There are also a lot of security solutions that can address these. Visitor pre-registration, check-in and screening, integration with access control, and more are all essential elements of visitor management systems that can help address some of these vulnerabilities.

6. Infant Abduction

For birthing hospitals, infant abduction is a security concern. Better record-keeping and enhanced infant protection methods and technology have reduced the risk of infant mismatch and infant abduction, but it is still a risk that needs to be addressed.

Eliminating mother-infant mismatches and preventing abduction are some of the biggest benefits of infant security systems in hospitals. Often, these systems integrate seamlessly with access control, nurse call, video surveillance, and more for effective infant security.

Additionally, there are many ways to further enhance the infant protection system in your hospital. These systems can be configured and customized to operate with unique features of specific mother-baby units, NICUs, labor and delivery suites, and more.

7. Issues With Inventory

Hospitals also deal with a lot of supplies. In addition to secure and appropriate storage of medication, medical supplies, blood, organs, and more, hospitals also need to keep track of everything in inventory.

Issues with inventory or storage can mean not having essential supplies or medication when it’s needed. Asset tracking, counting objects, and more are applications of AI in video surveillance that hospitals can use to keep track of inventory. When paired with asset tracking systems, this technology can assist with alerts for re-ordering, keeping track of expiration dates, and more to ensure that inventory stays up to date.

Items that have specific storage requirements can be affected if temperature, environmental needs, etc. are not met. Blood and organ transport and storage are some applications of environmental monitoring in healthcare. These systems can monitor and maintain specific environments to prevent spoilage and maintain inventory. They also usually can integrate with asset tracking to improve stability, maintain quality, and provide real-time location information.

8. Theft and Property Damage

Between medications, supplies, and equipment, hospitals are known for containing high-value assets, which makes them a target for theft and property damage. Video surveillance and access control can go a long way in preventing theft and property damage.

The presence of these systems alone often acts as a deterrent. In addition to the facility itself, you can also implement perimeter protection technologies to extend security to parking garages, parking lots, and property boundaries.

9. Cyber Attacks and Data Breaches

In addition to physical high-value assets, hospitals also contain information. Patient information, staff information, payment information, and more all make hospital technology systems prime targets for cyber attacks.

Data breaches and cybersecurity risks are common security threats and vulnerabilities of hospitals. Having the right systems in place to store and protect data is paramount. This is also why your team needs to be trained on your security systems in addition to practicing good cybersecurity.

Secure Your Hospital Effectively With NEPPS

Hospitals need comprehensive security solutions and these are just a few common security threats and vulnerabilities of hospitals. Locations, facility specifications, operations, and more will vary from facility to facility, which will affect the security products and systems needed for truly comprehensive healthcare security.

Choosing the right security systems integrator as a partner can help ensure your facility gets the security it needs. If you need to add or update security for your hospital, contact NEPPS at 1-800-736-1456.