The Many Possibilities of Integrated Security
By Bryan O’Neal
Security. When you think about protecting your workplace (and the people and resources inside it), what comes to mind? Cameras, alarms, access control—perhaps? There are so many components and applications to physical security in a healthcare environment, it’s difficult to pinpoint them all. Physical security has gone beyond locking the door to the medicine. Security today has evolved to include infant tagging, patient management, intrusion detection, mass notification, parking management, visitor management, asset management and panic alarms. The list can be overwhelming and the notion of implementing all of these systems can be downright scary.
After you get past the fear, the questions begin. Where do you begin? How do you justify each of the components? What technology do you use? Who maintains it?
As with most security, physical security is generally risk-based and incident driven. In other words, organizations work through a process of worst-case outcomes and what has been observed to identify problem areas. These are often unique to each organization and require such an approach to address them.
Regardless of the organization, however, a good place to start is with the key stakeholders. They should provide input on what is most at risk for them and provide examples of what has been observed or perceived as risk scenarios.
Armed with information, it is possible to deploy one or several technologies that can accomplish a reduction of risk. A physical security specialist can help identify the technology that works together to create the most effective solution. Take, for instance, the technology advances in IP cameras. They now have embedded processors that provide analytics. This smarter way to manage video can let you know when you need to pay attention to your security cameras. Picture an alert you retrieve on your phone, allowing you to observe someone entering a secure area, like your medical distribution system. Analytics can provide specific responses based on events and types of alarm conditions, allowing you to focus your energy on your critical job duties.
By using open standard, IP-based technology, healthcare organizations can integrate security solutions to leverage existing security investments while increasing the possibilities for a safe, secure facility.
Bryan O’Neal is a healthcare technology consultant at Golden West Technologies in Rapid City, SD. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about physical security.