There was once a time when hospitals were a single building and while this building was large, it would only have a handful of entrances. Today, hospitals have evolved to resemble university campuses. Sprawling over large areas and housing a magnitude of different facilities; emergency facilities, testing labs, infusion centers, and office spaces, just to name a few.
While this is evidence of how much our healthcare systems have evolved, we all know that with growth comes new problems and it’s no different in this case.
One umbrella problem that comes to mind for healthcare facilities is the complexity involved with running a site. Particularly, the visitor side of things. Increase in visitors, deliveries, entry points and assets that need to be tracked. With this, visitor management systems have become more and more critical to the running of a successful healthcare center.
The paper sign-in book and healthcare facilities
From a patient’s point of view, the paper sign-in book is simple to use. You fill out your name and some other key information requirements then you wait for the doctor. At least that’s in an ideal world but it never works out that way. Wait times can be long. Finding out where you need to go is like navigating through a maze, and key information can often be lost or missed.
I understand that most healthcare facilities have moved on from the typical paper sign-in book but their outdated systems introduce a couple of issues.
Firstly, they offer no umbrella overview.
I briefly touched on the point that within healthcare centers, there is almost always multiple points of entry and the outdated systems don’t account for this. The systems don’t offer a central place to see exactly who’s on-site and who’s checked out, in real-time. This is important due to the vulnerable nature of people in healthcare facilities and in some cases, these people need to be monitored, as do all the people entering.
Secondly, they have no screening support.
Healthcare facilities are notoriously crowded places and because of the easy access, they can be exposed to multiple security risks. Undesirable guests can be often overlooked, disgruntled employees looking for payback, and theft are among the group.
It’s also important to note that healthcare facilities are often looked at as ‘safe havens’ for the community. They’re a place you can go if you need help.
But in actual fact, nurses and healthcare facility staff are four times more likely to be assaulted than any other facility.
With a paper sign-in book or outdated systems, there’s no way of enforcing screening processes. Meaning anyone can walk through the doors and roam the hospitals. It’s also impossible to develop and execute adequate screening processes.
So, what’s most important for visitor management in healthcare facilities?
I already touched on a couple of reasons but let’s go through them again.
Knowing who’s onsite at any given time
With sprawling healthcare campuses, people can enter via multiple different entry points.
Proper visitor management means that any single employee should be able to see everyone who’s onsite at any given time and what the nature of their visit is.
The confidentiality of patients and staff
All healthcare staff have an obligation to respect the doctor-patient confidentiality.
Difficulties in enforcing watchlists
Healthcare facilities need to uphold a high level of safety and security within their sites. A big aspect of this is controlling who enters. Having the ability to run instant screening processes and being able to compare the results against a watchlist is essential.
A watchlist could list all the people that need to be watched closely on site or people who aren’t allowed to enter the site.
Can a visitor management system solve these issues?
The quick answer is yes.
Introducing a visitor management system will improve the safety and security of healthcare facilities. It will allow you to see exactly who’s on site, who they are and when they leave.
A visitor management system will also allow you to create site-specific workflows. Meaning that healthcare facilities will be able to enforce inductions and screening processes for certain people depending on the nature of their visit.
Other key solutions visitor management systems can provide to healthcare facilities:
- Capture visitor and employee check-ins and outs – giving you a real-time overview of who’s on-site at any given time
- Send emergency alerts to everyone on site with one click
- View and monitor important analytics
- Display NDAs, evacuation diagrams, safety forms and compliance questions you require visitors to view and confirm on check-in and check-out