Security plans should be updated and the personnel that implement them should be continuously trained to address rising, industry-specific trends. Many are predicting that in 2014 the healthcare industry will go through a number of changes as a result of recent U.S. healthcare reform. Below is a compilation of some of the top predicted healthcare trends for 2014 and ways your security staff can stay prepared.

Heightened Focus on Compliance
With healthcare reform underway in the new year, there is more pressure for healthcare institutions and their affiliate businesses to be compliant with legal and industry-wide standards. Being compliant with legal standards has always been pertinent for quality-conscious healthcare systems, and with the September 2013 enforcement of the HIPAA omnibus rule and audit programs increasing in frequency, the pressure to meet compliance is even stronger.

How to Prepare:
Patient privacy protection is a priority for healthcare institutions and security staff. Physical security plays a unique part in the protection of patients and their information. All healthcare security officers should be trained on an ongoing basis to meet HIPAA and other industry-recognized standards.

Patient Increase
A report from CNN in December 2013 reported that 365,000 previously uninsured Americans have now signed up for healthcare insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Although that number is unlikely to reach the projected 7 million by 2014, experts predict that it will continue to grow despite the program’s initial shortcomings. Some healthcare facilities could see an influx of patients as the new year rolls in, and pressure will be on healthcare security as well as healthcare personnel to manage the increased patient load.

How to Prepare:
Managing security concerns often associated with overcrowding should be incorporated into each facilities’ security plan and training. For optimal security efficiency, security staff and healthcare personnel should be trained on various policies covering:

  • Emergency preparedness
  • Crisis prevention
  • Active shooter violence
  • Aggressive behavior management

Although, there may be an increase in the number of people throughout a facility, it can be well managed with:

  • Access control
  • Perimeter patrol
  • Video surveillance
  • Visitor identification and management

Healthcare Service Model Shift
As industry competitiveness increases and consumers become more spending conscious, organizations like the Healthcare Professionals Network and PwC’s Health Research Institute are predicting that a growing number of healthcare systems will be forced to shift to a more consumer-focused business model. This shift could affect multiple aspects of healthcare facility operations, including the physical security program.

How to Prepare:
Physical security officers balance ease of access and comfort with ideal levels of security necessary for enhanced patient care and safety. Risk assessments in healthcare facilities will help to prepare security for any potential risks while keeping in mind the patient and healthcare personnel comfort. A security force trained in security technologies, customer service, and safety protocol is key to an evolving healthcare business model.

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