First Hospital Security “Exam” in Ten Years Points Up Areas for Improvement

Published: April 30, 2008

BRADENTON, Fla. – GE Security, Inc., a business of GE Enterprise Solutions (NYSE: GE), announced April 30 the results of its recent Healthcare Benchmarking Study, the first survey to assess security in the nation’s hospitals in nearly a decade. The results, according to the study conducted in partnership with the International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety (IAHSS), indicate that a technology transplant may be needed to help the nation’s hospitals address security concerns.

Survey results indicate hospitals face a variety of frequent security challenges and underscore, in particular, the need for technology-based, integrated security solutions to more effectively protect patients, staff and facilities without interfering with hospital operations. More than 650 hospital security directors participated in the GE Security-IAHSS online survey, covering topics ranging from staffing and technology to policies and procedures. Highlights include:

  • Sixty percent say technology and equipment are among their hospitals’ greatest security needs, followed by staffing, cited by 57 percent of survey takers.
  • Sixty-five percent say that their security budgets increased in 2007, yet, on average, only 13 percent of the security budget is reserved for technology, with nearly half used for maintenance compared to 25 percent for systems upgrades.
  • Forty percent say they lack adequate support for security, with large hospitals, on average, having at least one major incident every week, ranging from assaults to kidnapping.
  • Forty-five percent of hospitals do not have a visitor identification badging mechanism, and nearly half (47percent) say their hospitals are incapable of electronic emergency lock-downs.

“Hospitals should and can be safe and secure places where healing can occur without patients, care givers and staff being distracted by security concerns,” said Dean Seavers, president and CEO, GE Security. “GE Security is working in partnership with hospitals across the country to develop a more proactive approach to security planning to provide more and better integrated, scalable security solutions that are more effective and efficient over the long-term.”

“The issue of healthcare security is starting to appear on everyone’s radar, but much more needs to be done,” said Tony York, president of IAHSS and senior vice president for Hospital Shared Services. “Keeping these facilities safe and secure is a large challenge, and a little investment in security technology can go a long way to protect patients, staff and information.”

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“Our top priority is to provide patients with a real sense of security so they can focus on getting well, while also protecting hospital staff and assets,” said Mickey Watson, CHPA, manager of safety, security and transportation, Sarasota Memorial Healthcare System. “A comprehensive, integrated security system, like the one we implemented with GE Security, is essential to an effective hospital security plan.”

GE Security is working with IAHSS on legislation that would provide hospitals access to federal security grants to acquire access control and video solutions as well as other security technologies.

GE Security’s healthcare solutions team, comprised of security, technology, process and healthcare experts, is building a return-on-investment model to help hospital directors make the case for long-term technology and equipment investments. The team works with hospitals nationwide to conduct security assessments and provide integrated solutions that fit their unique needs.

GE Security and IAHSS conducted the survey in April 2007. For more information, please click here.____________________________________________________________________
GE April 30, 2008 press release

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