Skip to content

Seminar Headline

This is another article test. A healthcare facility�s number one priority is providing high quality patient care in a timely and cost-effective manner, and maintaining a secure facility is critical, as a perception of security or lack of security can set the tone for a person�s visit. There are many aspects to making patients and visitors feel secure. Using a layered security design approach as well as access control strategies can help your facility achieve a secure, yet friendly environment.� It�s worth noting the design strategies outlined pertain to hospitals and other healthcare facilities, and strategies for an urban healthcare environment versus that of a suburban healthcare environment may be very different.

The five layers of security: creating a safe and secure experience

Layered security is a crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) principal of compartmentalization and is defined as concentric layers of security measures that protect valuable assets behind multiple barriers. Starting from the outer perimeter and moving inward toward the area with the greatest need for protection, each security layer is designed to delay an intruder or attacker as long as possible.

Access Control Systems (ACS) utilize card and reader technology at doors to segregate areas of the facility to authorized personnel. In a healthcare setting, the card technology is often also used as a credential which is worn on a visible lanyard and usually includes the person�s identifying information and photo. Color codes included on the credential may also indicate if the person belongs to a certain care team and provides a quick visual indication to other staff if the person wearing the credential should be accessing an area.

Photo caption 1: Staff issued card and reader technology help segregate areas of the site to authorized personnel and track staff access and movements, while identifying staff to patients and visitors.

Establishing and following proper facility security procedures is an essential aspect of access control. For example, failing to train staff to hold secured doors open only for credentialed employees can defeat any ACS. Craig Wolgemuth, senior project manager of IT growth and development at Maple Grove Hospital in Maple Grove, Minnesota, says that ACS are only as effective as the staff allow them to be.

�They need to be aware that their helpfulness, such as holding open an access-controlled door for a visitor, can potentially override a well-designed security system,� he explains. �We focus on providing appropriate technology combined with rigorous staff education to maintain the safest and most comfortable environment possible.�

According to Brandon Kehl, CPP, chairman of the International Association of Healthcare Security & Safety (IAHSS) Council on Education & Training and senior physical security consultant with Burns & McDonnell, a top notch ACS isn�t just about training staff; it�s about the security layers working in congruence with one another. Each layer of protection helps define and manage the secure areas, he notes.

�By incorporating a layered approach that involves everyone connected to an organization, from the landscaping crew to patient assistant volunteers, a healthcare facility can demonstrate their commitment to a positive patient experience,� Kehl says.

1.� Property Perimeter

Having a healthcare facility that is open to the public creates challenges for security staff. Site signage is a simple and inexpensive way to try and guide visitors to the proper areas of the site for patient drop-off, visitor parking, and access to the emergency department. CPTED principals can also be applied to properly locate landscaping elements like trees and shrubs to create natural and aesthetic barriers to guide people to their destinations. In addition, having visitors take a ticket when entering a parking area, even if they are not required to pay, establishes a �semi-private� area in the view of the public that deters potential aggressors.