Standardization of healthcare protocols and procedures is an established practice that helps create a safer and more affordable patient culture. Today, the standardization trend is expanding as healthcare facilities nationwide are realizing the benefits of creating uniformity in non-clinical services including physical security services.
Why are more healthcare institutions opting to streamline and centralize their security officer services? Consolidating security providers delivers consistency and improved service as everyone is functioning under the same management structure and working toward a common goal. Health systems can experience cost efficiencies, increased value and a stronger, better coordinated approach to security that leads to enhanced patient and staff satisfaction.
Cost Savings with Increased Valueand Best Practices – Standardization of non-clinical services positions healthcare institutions for greater cost savings and enhanced efficiencies. The buying power of the healthcare institution increases as standardization opens up the market for a broader choice of service providers and greater access to more experienced security leaders. There can also be reduced risk and less of an exposure to liability as the same security measures are being practiced consistently at every location.
Lean Management Structures Favor Controlled Outsourcing– With management getting leaner and budgets getting tighter, it is imperative that more be done with less. Executives are leading multiple departments, often with many senior direct reports. Streamlining security operations and establishing a single point of contact creates efficiencies in service so that managers can spend less time managing their contract providers. A single security provider also allows for consistent invoicing, communications and personnel management program-wide.
Consistency Breeds Confidence– When hospital staff feels safe at work, they can focus all of their attention on patient care. Knowing that consistent procedures are in place and supported by the whole organization helps build confidence that their safety is your priority. Additionally, when your staff needs to go to another location for training, meetings or to cover an open shift, they will already know the security procedures.
Positive Patient Experiences- Implementing consistent procedures and establishing clear security expectations are critical. A standardized security program across an entire health system can lead to more positive experiences for patients and better patient satisfaction scores. A patient may go to the emergency department today and then follow up with a specialist at an affiliated facility next week. If standard security procedures are in place, that patient will know what to expect in terms of gaining access to the facilities and passing through security screening. Additionally, if they need assistance while in either facility, seeing the same uniformed security presence will be helpful.
Freeing up Valuable Square Footage – An incident command center assists hospitals in improving their emergency management planning and response and recovery capabilities for planned and unplanned events. These centers take up considerable square footage and deploy a lot of expensive equipment. More health systems have moved to having one master command center to oversee multiple locations. The freed up space becomes valuable real estate for patient care.
Raising the Bar on Customer Service – Visiting a hospital or emergency department is often a stressful experience because of unfamiliarity with the physical layout and the fear of potential medical procedures. Healthcare institutions are increasingly expanding the role of security officers to include customer service. Standardized procedures allow security officers to be cross-trained to provide services at more than one location, helping to ensure that excellent customer service is provided every day, at every location.
Preventing Workplace Violence- Healthcare is an industry unlike any other, and the character of violence that it faces is similarly unique. The causes of violence at healthcare facilities are subject to changing patterns and types of crimes. The level of violence depends highly upon location and population. Regardless of location or situation, violence threatens healthcare staff every day. With consistent training, reporting procedures and security measures, hospitals can create positive, safe environments. Lessons learned from emergency planning and drills can be shared across the system, and collaboration with local law enforcement can be strengthened.
Security officer providers can help standardize a system-wide program that creates efficiencies for the enterprise. Through contract security, the security provider alleviates the costs and management challenges associated with payroll, recruiting, background screening, training, benefits, uniforms, scheduling, compliance, regulatory support, workers’ compensation and other related payroll taxes and insurance for security personnel.
As many healthcare companies add acute care hospitals, behavioral health centers, surgical hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers and radiation oncology centers, they should consider leveraging their size to gain value and operational efficiencies while creating safer and more secure environments.