Good security practices are integral in just about every industry there is. However, they are particularly important within healthcare practices, making them one of the most vulnerable industries to security breaches.
This is because:
- Healthcare facilities may store expensive medication and equipment on-site, making them key targets for theft-based crime.
- Private patient information is worth a lot of money to attackers.
- Healthcare professionals are often overworked, and focused strictly on patient care, making security a low priority.
As such, it’s important that facility owners make a real effort to improve their security procedures. For example, you could:
Install a business intercom system. Installing a business intercom system on your premises can help to improve security by improving access control, and ensuring that only those authorized to do so can enter. It also helps you manage patient/visitor flow as you can monitor and keep track of who is in the building. Finally, this can serve as a contactless way to register visitor attendance, which adds an extra layer of protection during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Focus on cybersecurity. Per a recent study, “stolen health records may sell up to 10 times or more than stolen credit card numbers on the dark web”, which perhaps explains why healthcare facilities are so often the victims of cyber attacks. As such, owners should look into the various ways in which they can improve cyber security practices on-site. For example, you could ensure that you follow good password protocols, such as using strong passwords, using different passwords for different programs, and changing passwords frequently. This may seem relatively straightforward, but it’s one of the easiest ways to protect patient data and reduce breaches.
Give employees security training. Whether they are logging patient information onto computers/laptops, or locking up important storage units, providing staff with a little security training can also go a long way. This is particularly important when you consider that a lot of security breaches are due to (unintentional) employee misdemeanors, such as leaving documents open and visible or keys unattended. Thankfully, many of these errors can be avoided through on-site training and simply encouraging your employees to be a little more safety conscious in their daily practices.
Go paperless. Many businesses are opting to go paperless due to the fact that it helps them become more sustainable. However, they can also reduce security risks throughout your organization, since “electronic records, if properly backed up together with strong data protection processes, are infinitely more secure than paper records.” They can also reduce employee burnout quite significantly, given that they no longer have to look through piles and piles of paper to gain access to the patient information they need, as a quick search will bring it right to them. This allows them to make the most of their time. As such, it can also improve patient care and satisfaction. Of course, going paperless should also encourage you to invest more heavily in cybersecurity software, which makes you less vulnerable to hackers and data leaks.
Hire security staff. Hiring security personnel, such as nighttime porters, is another great way to enhance physical security procedures at your healthcare facility. This is because, unlike doctors, nurses, and other health personnel, their main priority will be to maintain security procedures. This means that the rest of your staff can focus on the task at hand. This can also be particularly useful if your business is not 24/7, as important equipment, machinery, and medications are therefore not left unattended.
Install security cameras and alarms. Internal and external security cameras can be an invaluable asset to protecting your healthcare premises from security problems, namely theft. This is because the site of a security camera acts as a visual deterrent – the perpetrator knows their actions will be caught on camera, meaning the likelihood of them being caught (and prosecuted) increases significantly than if they were able to enter without being detected. Installing these cameras could also reduce the amount you have to spend on building insurance, as the presence of CCTV means that many providers determine you’re less likely to need to make a claim in the future. As a result, they can also be a great cost-cutting measure.
In short, there are various ways in which you can improve security practices in your healthcare business. However, the most important guideline to follow is to simply be mindful of vulnerabilities and willing to make necessary changes when they are presented to you.