By CS Staff · April 7, 2017
Hospitals and clinics face regular threats to people and property from both outside and inside forces. Physical assaults, infant abductions, theft of medical supplies, drugs, or confidential patient information are all issues with which today’s healthcare security professionals must contend. Not only must security protect against these threats, they must do so while maintaining an open and inviting environment for those accessing their facilities. This can often be a herculean task, not only because of the nature of healthcare facilities, but also due to the different types of people that access them – staff, patients, visitors, contractors/temporary workers and vendors.
With this kind of threat environment – healthcare facilities can no longer afford to continue utilizing manual processes while physical security and logical security exist in siloed environments with no level of integration. Today’s healthcare security departments need to take a centralized, streamlined approach to identity management and security access—one that brings together their existing HR, IT, and physical security infrastructure.
Yet, adopting this new approach can be daunting. Assessing organizational needs, reviewing and selecting a solution, gaining approval from multiple stakeholders and implementing a physical identity and access management solution can all seem overwhelming. Given the choice between adopting a new approach versus doing nothing and maintaining the status quo – nothing seems like the easier choice. But, is it?
Manually verifying, approving, and provisioning access and tracking visitors and contractors via physical sign-in sheets are time-consuming, inefficient and error-prone processes. For healthcare organizations with multiple locations, it can often take several days if not weeks to issue the privileges and credentials needed for one person to work at one of their locations. This type of manual intervention results in loss productivity for the affected worker and loss of money for the organization.
Doing nothing to solve inefficient access management processes also poses huge operational and financial risks to healthcare organizations regarding compliance with healthcare regulations, such as HIPAA and the Joint Commission. Yet, due to the combination of organizational silos and the many disparate systems that populate most organizations, auditing and validating access rights to ensure compliance with these regulations is an almost impossible task. Not only does regulatory non-compliance cost money from fines and penalties levied on organizations, but it also results in disruptions to business, loss of productivity and revenue from closures and damaged reputations.
Security Viewed as Inhibitor
While physical security plays a vital and important role in reducing the risk to an organization, many organizations’ employees, contractors, and visitors have a negative view of their security department and the policies and rules they enact. They view security as an inhibitor – there to slow them down, making their lives harder. With that type of attitude, it is common to see employees circumvent security processes they view as cumbersome and too difficult. By flouting security, organization members put the entire organization at risk, which may result in a costly incident and loss of reputation.
What will ultimately save organizations time and money is employing a purpose-built, intelligent and automated physical identity and access management (PIAM) solution. A PIAM solution allows healthcare organizations to upgrade and enhance their physical security strategies to meet the challenges of today’s healthcare industry.
By automating processes and consolidating data from disparate systems, healthcare facilities can lower costs, reduce the potential for errors and more easily demonstrate compliance with regulations – all while significantly improving the safety of patients, staff, contractors and visitors. Additionally, automated physical identity and access management ensures an open healthcare environment remains inviting, by ensuring enforcement of security policies and procedures without inhibiting operations.
Quantum Secure’s award-winning physical identity and access management solution – SAFE Software Suite™ – streamlines and automates secure identity management, compliance and operational analytics in a single, centralized platform. To learn how SAFE can help your healthcare organization lower its risk profile and save operational costs, click here.