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Hospitals & Medical Centers

Webinar Review: Healthcare Security: A Great Story to Tell

November 15, 2013

In this webinar, Eric Smith, CPP, Director of Security for Exempla Healthcare, endeavored to explain how to prove security’s value to not just the C-Suite, but to the whole enterprise. Hint: It involves some clever dabbling in public relations.

A major problem within security, says Smith, is explaining and justifying the expense of security initiatives in healthcare. Security leaders are also facing negative stereotypes, such as the “mall cop” notion, as well as issues within security leadership itself, such as the police mentality toward the media and public – the “nothing to see here” statement is not a viable option for healthcare institutions.

Some enterprises, Smith explains in the webinar, prefer to block open communication about crime or security issues with the public and even employees, out of privacy concerns or worries over “fearmongering.” This restraint, however, can actually lead to more misinformation and gossip, which can turn a broken car window into a gunfight, he says.

The building blocks of telling security’s story in a productive way are:

  •  Business Expertise
  • Teamwork
  • Communication

In terms of business expertise, Smith recommends that security directors connect security risks to the CEO’s key risks: compliance, costs, loss of customers, employee engagement and retaining talent. Tie requests for equipment or capital into the goals of the business, and back up your initiatives with metrics and solutions, such as grants or other outside funding options.

For teamwork, look at selection, training, trust and support, as well as an emphasis on the four “A”s of professionalism (Appearance, Actions, Attitude, Accreditation). When hiring your security force, understand and address customer service needs as well as security needs – 90 percent of the time, customer service (directions, greetings, etc) will be the main function of your security officers.

Communication is key, and this is where a little bit of self-promotion comes in, according to Smith. It takes a significant time investment, but the payout can be huge for creating a security newsletter, in which you can let your employees and other stakeholders know about your officers’ latest actions, crimes that have taken place on-site and what you’re doing about it. Patient names and information would not be included, of course. However, if you’re not a writer or if you don’t have time, you could work with the in-house PR or communications department to get security’s message, and value, out.

You can listen to the archived webinar on-demand now to learn about these practices, how to craft an accurate and well-received message, and how to present your case to your CEO, COO or CFO for the best results.

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