American hospitals are enormous facilities where healthcare workers, patients, utility repairmen, support staff, administrators, and tech officers are constantly coming and going. Keeping tabs on all of these bodies and moving parts can be a challenge, especially as it applies to safety.
First, there’s the health of patients and practitioners to worry about. In this current pandemic environment, hospitals have amped up regulations regarding who can and cannot be in the facility at a given time. This is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and requires that gatekeepers be especially on their guard, checking in each individual who enters a hospital's doors.
Then there’s the welfare of patients and staff should a bad actor attempt to breach a hospital’s security measures. According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, between 2000 and 2011, there were 154 hospital-related shootings in the United States. The shootings, which took place in 40 states, resulted in 235 injured or dead. So the realities of this threat are real and something hospital administration has to seriously consider.
To help increase security and manage visitors, they’ve employed photo ID badges to better identify staff and patients.
For patients this typically means a wrist band with their name, as well as a barcode that can be scanned to find important information like their medicine dosages, previous conditions, allergies, and treatment plan. They’re required to wear this ID for the duration of their stay.
For staff, doctors, and contractors, IDs look a little different. Most are given name badge IDs with a photo and their title. These are generally worn on the label of a doctor’s coat, but there is flexibility. Due to the nature of their jobs, some doctors opt to wear an ID badge on a lanyard, badge reel, or in a badge holder.
For nurses, a new trend is to adorn badge buddies, the extra long space below the ID, with flair. That could be buttons or charms that showcase their personality and style. This passes the security test because all the information pertaining to their position remains, but it just gets a little decoration to perk it up.
But perhaps the biggest change in hospital badge safety has been a shift to self-expiring IDs for visitors. Those who come to see family or want to get on a hospital campus can pose the greatest risk to staff and patients.
To avoid unwanted guests, hospitals have turned to visitor management systems. These sophisticated software systems were designed to not only print self-expiring visitor badge IDs, but to also keep track of who comes in the doors, and on what dates. Specialist ID’s Visitor Management System can be customized for each hospital. And it can produce all kinds of data including printable reports to track over a week, month, or year.
Why are these essential to security? Imagine if a doctor found someone suspicious walking around the ER. If the doctor noticed the person was not wearing an official hospital visitor ID, he’d be well within his rights to ask the person to leave or to call security should the incident escalate. An ID system takes away the second guessing that could lead to a threat. When an entire hospital system is trained on how to identify ID badges and what to do if they see someone wearing one that’s expired or incorrect, the facility as a whole is a safer place to work and manage care.
The same goes for a robust staff ID badge system. Today ID badges can double as keys allowing only those with approved access to certain spaces such as operating rooms or pharmacies.
And that’s why more institutions are investing in badge ID programs and materials. With so much on the line when it comes to the health and wellness of patients, hospitals can’t take any chances.
This is also why some changes are coming to hospital IDs in some states. In Pennsylvania, citing privacy concerns, a new bill proposes removing staff last names from ID badges, according to PDC Healthcare. With workplace violence four times more likely in healthcare facilities than private industries, the measure is seen as a way to protect staff from being targeted.
With other states moving to similar measures, hospitals will once again need to invest in new badges and materials and when they do, Specialist ID will be ready. The leader in badge products, Specialist ID serves the healthcare community in ensuring that they have the best badge products available. To see how they can help your hospital, visit specialistid.com.