Although insurance cover limits healthcare consumers on where they can seek medical attention, they are never prevented choosing a health service of their choice. Their choice will be guided by the trust they have developed in the center. When a patient seeks medical attention, they expect the healthcare provider to provide protection to them, their family, belonging, and visitors (Biringer, 2013). This safety is guaranteed by the security mechanism installed in the center. Therefore, security at the health facility is vital in ensuring patient satisfaction. Patients visit healthcare facilities for varied reasons. These reasons range from a medical condition, emergency treatment, giving birth to surgical procedures and treatments. This paper looks at the importance of security mechanisms at healthcare facilities and the role it plays in ensuring the safety and minimized risk through efficient response and recovery procedures. It will also address the role of public relations in security.
In most hospitals, over half the inpatients admitted are received through the emergency section of the hospital (Biringer, 2013). Despite its function, emergency section has served as a hiding place for people in danger, point of entry for late visitors, and as a clinic of the poor. These cases expose the emergency department to various security risks. Therefore, it is crucial to have a security plan that will cater for these security threats. The security policy should guarantee the safety of the patients in the health facility together with their families, visitors, and belongings. Any success criminal attempt may significantly erode the trust of the patient and the visitors. When a visitor learns of a security lapse, they may opt to advice the patient to leave the facility or even be tempted to optimize on it for their gain such as sneaking out a patient. There is a risk of property theft belonging to the employees or the patients. A study by Biringer shows that there is a high risk of crime in the infant section, pediatric section, pharmacy, and then psychiatric section (2013). Most of these are easier to prevent than to solve. Therefore, it is paramount that all health facilities have adequate protection to minimize these risks.
Security is also important in enriching employees’ satisfaction. The safety of the workers at the healthcare facility will be reflected on the patients (Snedaker & Rima, 2014). Their work is stressful and requires an ample working environment so that they perform optimally. Surveys conducted on emergency departments reveal that over half of the attending nurses had been victims of violence at the workplace (Ebrary & Atlas, 2013). Violence against these nurses discourages them from fulfilling their duties of saving lives. It is an indication of security incompetence that is detrimental to the ultimate goal of the healthcare facility. A satisfactory sense of security for the worker and patients is vital for the overall recovery of the patients. Therefore, there should be security systems that will safeguard the health facilities’ most critical resource, the employees.
Healthcare facilities can be sources sicknesses for patients and the public. Hospitals need to establish a risk management framework that can be use to minimize such occurrences. For instance, when Ebola broke out in West Africa, the public were at a higher risk of infection. The hospitals were faced with a critical need to contain the situation. This involved seclusion and sterilization of those who were infected (Hovenga & Grain, 2013). However, the sorry of their security system worsened the situation when hooligans raided the hospitals freeing those who were infected. It led to further infections and deaths beyond the anticipated level (Snedaker & Rima, 2014). Priority to security system of healthcare is the first step to risk management.
Hospitals need to define and put in place prevention and protection protocols that address different levels of situations for risk management. The hospital management should have patients’ ward arrangement plan that sets high-security standards at highly infectious and vulnerable patients’ wards. For example, the TB patients, mentally ill patients, patients on intensive care unit, new, and pediatrics wards should receive more security reinforcement than other wards. The infrastructure should be designed to offer distinct levels of security and risk management features.
The gradual shift by hospital to have vital records and information online has presented the need for data protection. The healthcare centers are also faced with the need to reduce data loss and optimize recovery in case of any loss. The issue of patient’s privacy and the cost of data loss through online security breach are also of great concern. According to research, billions of dollars and over 80 percent productivity are lost annually because of data loss due to breaches and equipment failures (Hovenga & Grain, 2013). While the law compels healthcare facilities to install protective measures, it is also important that these measures are efficient in offering data backup and capability to recover the data. The mechanism in place should be able to detect data security breach and respond promptly to stop data loss. It should also be able to alert the hospital management on the breach and provide details on the type of information targeted or lost.
The ability of a healthcare facility to respond to challenges of security and the ultimate recovery are imperative. The facility should establish a security process that reduces the possibility of crime taking place, responds appropriately to contain the situation when it occurs and helps in the recovery. The emergency section of the hospital serves a critical role and should, therefore, have such a security mechanism in place. The security available should be able to prevent street crime from entering the hospital through the emergency door, which is always open. The security team at the entrance should be qualified enough in public relation issues so that they can engage potential crime perpetrators and calm them down. It is because some crimes occur at the hospital due to the frustration when one loses a loved one in the facility. Proper public relation approach may be useful in calming down the person thus averting occurrence of a crime. The feeling of security and the physical security of the nurses are essential because emergency treatment can be jeopardy should the nurses be exposed to street crime. The hospital security should protect it from the crime on the street.
In the event that such a crime has occurred in the hospital, the communication system of the security personnel should be efficient enough to gunner reinforcement that will be necessary to contain the situation. The response of the security personnel should be timely enough to protect the nurses and the patients from any harm. The efficiency of the response team is vital for patient and employee satisfaction. There should be a recovery process after containment that will ensure a quick and smooth transition into normalcy. Such a process should entail withdrawal and replacement of the emotional and physically hurt nurses. It should also offer reassurance to the patients.
In conclusion, security is vital in
every health facility. The sense of
security and actual security of everyone in the hospital is essential for the
overall goal of the hospital of saving lives. The security concerns in the
healthcare facilities are the bodily and emotional wellbeing of patients and
employees, safety of the public from infections, and safety of data and
information. To address these concerns,
they need mitigation mechanisms such as public relation, protection by stopping
entry, online breach, or exit from the center, and containment through
efficient response team.
Biringer, B. E. (2013). Critical infrastructure system security and resiliency. Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis.
Ebrary, I., & Atlas, R. I. (2013). 21st century security and CPTED: Designing for critical infrastructure protection and crime prevention (2nd ed.). Boca Raton: CRC Press.
Hovenga, E. J. S., & Grain, H. (2013). Health information governance in a digital environment. Amsterdam: IOS Press.
Snedaker, S., & Rima, C. (2014). Business continuity and disaster recovery planning for IT professionals (Second edition.). Waltham, MA: Syngress.