Imagine your loved one falls ill, and you rush them to the hospital, eager for answers and healing. You take the first available parking spot and make your way to the hospital entrance. It’s arguably one of the worst times for an injury, though parking lot slips and falls do happen, particularly during bad weather.

Risks don’t end there. Often, employees and patients must enter or exit the hospital at odd hours of the night or walk a long distance to darkened parking garages. There’s a reason why experts at Hospital Safety Center call parking garages and surface lots “high crime areas” in a hospital.

Think we’re exaggerating?

“Health care workers have been attacked in parking garages for decades,” reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Hospitals across the country have frequently allowed parking garages to go unstaffed, cameras unmonitored and nurses to fend for themselves, documents and interviews show.”

To counter parking lot/garage risks, many hospital security leaders have adopted various technology solutions: cameras, sensors, blue emergency posts, to name a few. Despite their best efforts, it’s tough to secure external areas.

One challenge is the lack of follow-through or integration between technology systems. Say a sensor goes off, or a light comes on, or a camera captures an injury or attack. Then what?

By integrating disparate technologies, security leaders can automate responses to reduce risks and expedite help where it’s needed.

A sample chain of automations might look like this:

  • Loud sirens blare when incident is detected.
  • Simultaneously, alerts are sent to select personnel, sending them to the right location.
  • Alerts are “layered” in various formats (audio, visual, text, email) so security staff never misses an alert the moment it’s sent.
  • In addition to sending staff or first responders to the right spot, safety/security staff can monitor live camera feeds and even share them with police or firefighters.

To be clear, all of the above should happen instantly. The speed and reach of your emergency alerts are particularly critical when every passing moment puts the patient, visitor or employee at greater risk.

Though it’s a fairly simple solution, integrating disparate systems you already own can make a tremendous difference in preventing or countering harm.

Here’s a helpful exercise: The following illustration highlights various technologies that can be integrated in your hospital campus.

What’s one thing you could automate to reduce risks and speed your response to safety/security mishaps?

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