doctor holding stethoscope

Investing in Technology to Improve Healthcare Staff Retention and Hospital Security

Investing in Technology to Improve Healthcare Staff Retention and Hospital Security

Employing innovative technologies to prevent workplace violence and enhance healthcare security can increase staff retention, improve hospital operations, administration and the healthcare industry.

Hospitals are high-stress environments. Patients are seeking treatment, family members are awaiting news, and healthcare professionals are working to save lives. Add to that, the prevalent threat of violence in hospitals, and it’s no surprise that healthcare workers are quitting, retiring, or simply moving on.

By 2033, the United States will face a shortage of up to 124,000 physicians and will also have to hire 200,000 nurses every year to keep up with the demand and to replace nurses who are retiring.1 A healthcare worker has a higher chance of being exposed to violence than a prison guard or a police officer, according to the American Hospital Association’s podcast, Advancing Health.2

Security Incidents

The consequences to healthcare organizations of security incidents are costly and substantial, they include:

Leveraging Technology for Providers

Healthcare facilities need protect their people, their assets and access to their network equipment by ensuring that physical security protocols are current and up to date.  Cybersecurity, AI and physical security are topics that many security professionals have top of mind these days.  Dated access control systems expose facilities to vulnerabilities that could lead to unwanted access to physical spaces and networks. 

By leveraging technology, hospitals can better utilize staff for physical access control and make more strategic use of security personnel in high impact areas. This leads to a safer environment for patients, visitors and staff. To realize a modernized security infrastructure, healthcare organizations can benefit from key technology enhancements including multi-technology readers, smart cards and mobile-based credentials. 

In the bigger picture, multi-technology solutions can decrease the cost of physical access control upgrades while increasing operational efficiencies. Rather than rip and replace legacy systems — an expensive proposition — hospitals can leverage a modernized reader’s interoperable nature to make gradual upgrades across deployments. 

Prioritizing a move from insecure legacy credential technologies, including magnetic stripe or 125 kHz low-frequency proximity cards — credentials that are easily cloned or spoofed — to high-frequency, encrypted, software-based credentials, further supports the move to a more secure environment with better data and privacy protection. 

These next-generation credentials also open the door to an expanded range of form factors that enable hospitals to issue the most appropriate card, tag, fob or mobile device. With smartphones and wearables virtually ubiquitous, security administrators in healthcare organizations can leverage over-the-air provisioning to conveniently and efficiently deploy and revoke credentials without having to engage in face-to-face interactions. 

Through the adoption of mobile access technology and the acceptance of employee badges into digital wallets, individuals can authenticate themselves to their employers using their smartphones or smartwatches, and seamlessly access office doors, elevators, turnstiles, parking lots and many other building amenities solely through their smart devices. There is no need to carry physical plastic badges or keycards, reducing associated costs such as printing, maintenance and replacement. This shift to digital credentials also aligns with sustainability goals by reducing plastic waste. 

Managing Your Workforce and Visitor Access 

Managing the entire lifecycle of employees, visitors, partners, vendors, and contractors with automated workflows can streamline access and tighten security in hospitals. Managing badges, credentials, assets, and visitors based on identities and access facilitates having the right people, with the right tools at the right time, while integrating with other organization systems. Enhancing efficiency and security provides peace of mind and a satisfactory work environment. Physicians, nurses and other hospital staff can come to work each day feeling safer and at ease.

In reality, making an “investment” in a Physical Identity Access Management (PIAM) solution improves workflows, a sense of security, employee satisfaction and will save healthcare organizations significant budget in both the short and long term.

Here are the ways a PIAM solution helps prevent violence and improves employee retention in hospitals:

  • Manages the entire visitor lifecycle, from the time the visitor is preregistered to the time they check-out
  • Integrates with Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS) to leverage identities, roles and records managed by the Human Resource Department to provide consistency in provisioning and de-provisioning cardholders across physical security systems
  • Automates Physical Access Control System (PACS) cardholder processes by providing and reporting to administration new hires, terminations and change requests based on security policies
  • Reduces the manual interventions needed to provision these identities in existing PACS for identity and credential management processes
  • Establishes a framework to support disaster recovery, background checks, visitor management, building automation, IT security convergence, etc.

Enhancing Security With RLTS Technology 

One Infrastructure, Multiple RTLS Applications
Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS), such as those developed by HID, are being integrated into smart hospitals, primary care clinics, long-term care homes, and many other types of facilities to protect people and reduce incidents of violence within healthcare sites. 

Strong and reliable lines of communication between nursing staff and supervisors, security teams, and other departments can de-escalate heated situations and provide rapid assistance in case of conflict.

HID’s RTLS Solutions ensure that staff and patients receive help when and where they need it. As technology evolves, so too does the ability of healthcare facilities to create a safe and responsive environment that provides workers with the support they need in moments of crisis and the best tools available to avert moments of potential harm. 

Through constant innovation and the routine release of new capabilities within HID’s platform, we continuously bring better IoT/RTLS capabilities to the market that cover a range of industries and use cases:

Healthcare organizations carry a heavy burden to protect their patients and staff. Advanced technologies and best practices are available that can be easily integrated into existing systems to bring security and ease to patients and providers alike.  Everyone should feel safe at work — applying and refining security technology is a strong first step to creating more positive workplaces for healthcare employees across the board.