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Physical security and cybersecurity: two sides of the same coin

Physical security and cybersecurity: two sides of the same coin

Physically securing hospitals and facilities is just as important as fortifying IT systems

The future of patient care relies on tech-based innovation as the technological revolution begins to infiltrate the healthcare sector. There is no doubt technology plays a vital role in our lives today; from healthcare to the real-estate sector, technological advancements are constantly reshaping our surroundings.

When we speak of securing healthcare facilities, two security aspects come to mind: physical security and cybersecurity. Healthcare facilities have become a primary target for cyberattacks because of the sensitive data they hold; therefore, cybersecurity may be top of mind.

However, physically securing hospitals and facilities is just as important. From security teams using access control systems to know exactly where equipment, patients, and staff are located and which doors are being accessed, to whether building capacity is respected. There is a greater emphasis on healthcare providers in their decision-making processes.

Real-time location services
It is crucial that healthcare practitioners feel safe in their workplace, and it is even more important for patients and their families to feel the same. Healthcare workers are subject to workplace violence more than any other sector. Many healthcare facilities report that over half of nurses have experienced abuse, harassment, or assault within the first year of working. The sources of violence range from patients and visitors, to hospital staff – and there is a growing concern of violence that goes unreported.

A growing sector in the healthcare industry is real-time location services (RTLS) for equipment and patient tracking. Every patient is tagged with an active tag upon admission, which gives the security team real-time knowledge of where every patient is at any moment. The security team also receives instant notifications if a patient wanders out of a pre-determined area.

According to Becker’s Hospital Review, data breaches cost the health care industry, approximately $5.6bn every year. Now more than ever, it is vital that healthcare facilities invest in a security platform that evolves to fit today’s needs. Many aging cybersecurity systems urgently need to be upgraded, as cyber threats and attacks are constantly changing.

Looking ahead
Security is making a shift away from simply protecting people, to helping other departments find more efficient ways to carry out their tasks. Soon, we expect to see security teams using greater analytical tools that cater to healthcare facilities, to help enforce policy and ensure safety.

Healthcare facilities are looking at how others have evolved their security practices, asking important questions about what they envision for their security teams, and if there are better ways to enhance the patient experience, simplify day-to-day tasks and help organisations comply with regulations.

As hospitals move to digital filing systems to track patient information and treatments, healthcare facilities need to develop effective strategies for protecting access to their data. By attaching access control readers to workstations, you can prevent unauthorised access to computers and sensitive information as nurses and doctors will be required to tap their badges at the readers to access patient files. With the right investment in technology, healthcare facilities can empower their teams to be faster and more effective at protecting everyone while keeping operations running smoothly.

Ephrem Tesfai is the sales engineering manager, Middle East, Turkey and Africa at Genetec

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