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Hospitals can reduce risk and boost compliance with a unified security platform

George

Unified Security Solutions: Safeguarding Hospitals Amid Complex Challenges

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are extremely complex. The constant ingress and egress of staff and patients, requires strict access control and the need to be vigilant in case an incident occurs and escalates. This requires constant monitoring of different data feeds to protect assets and ensure patient and staff safety. Any failure in the system can result in a loss of trust and significant reputational damage. 

“What many hospitals lack is a single view of all the access activity that pulls data from the different sources together and finds correlations that can indicate potential issues and provides meaningful alerts to security teams”

George Moawad, Country Manager for ANZ, Genetec

For many hospitals, the challenge is not having systems in place to monitor all the different activity. As secured doors are opened using access cards, biometrics or other tools systems log the activity. Video cameras capture activity and can be used to investigate incidents. Locked secure cabinets holding medications can also be monitored using electronic access control tools. 

A common problem in hospitals is the theft of medication. A recent report in The Medical Journal of Australiaconcluded that “substantial quantities of medications supplied to hospital wards and EDs [Emergency Departments] are not accounted for in electronic administration records.” Data from four Melbourne hospitals recently found that about a fifth of medications that were unaccounted for were never given to patients. This represents a substantial cost as well as the risk of a drug-related incident impacting a hospital’s reputation. 

The challenge is not a lack of data. Hospitals and healthcare facilities have access to data from a variety of sources. What many hospitals lack is a single view of all the access activity that pulls data from the different sources together and finds correlations that can indicate potential issues and provides meaningful alerts to security teams. 

Unless the data can be brought together and unified to generate useful information that drives insights, it’s extremely difficult for security directors to maintain authorised movement through facilities, monitor drug theft, keep pollutants out of cleanrooms and protect patient records from prying eyes. For hospital operators, the complexity increases if they are responsible for a portfolio of facilities. Security directors need to be able track what is happening across all locations in real-time. 

Access control systems are a critical element to overcoming these challenges. Access control solutions go beyond controlling flow of movement into secured areas. Access control systems can be used to ensure only authorised personnel can access sensitive equipment or cupboards where medications are kept. But, on their own, they can only tell a security team which swipe card was used to unlock a door. 

When access control is unified with video surveillance operators can retrieve an access control event and correlate it with a video recording. This allows them to see if the person swiping the badge was, in fact, the authorised individual. As well as detecting potential theft, it ensures adherence with access policies and procedures.

With hospitals subject to a broad range of regulatory obligations, maintaining accurate logs can be challenging. As well as access information, it is critical that all incidents are captured. A video surveillance platform that not only stores video but applies machine learning to assist with detecting and alerting security teams to specific incidents can not only support but simplify compliance efforts. This means hospitals can spend more time helping patients and less time on burdensome compliance.

A unified security platform goes beyond physical security.  Cybersecurity is now a headline item on hospital board agendas. Being able to see logical, as well as physical, security issues and alerts in one place ensures security directors are across all the threats and risks the hospital faces. 

Hospitals are a critical community resource that must be protected with the best possible tools. A security platform that brings all the different physical and logical security information into a single place that can be easily monitored can be the difference between quickly detecting a threat and limiting its blast radius or suffering a major issue that threatens a hospital’s operations and ongoing reputation.

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