The State of Healthcare Safety and How Mass Notifications Can Help


Healthcare Safety Stats

A report by Campus Safety Magazine highlighting data from a survey conducted by the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS) reveals that while property crime in healthcare facilities was down in 2018, violent crime rates went up. In 2016, the violent crime rate was 1.0 compared to 1.4 in 2018. However, that rate is still half of what it was in 2014. The assault rate also increased, going from 9.3 incidents in 2016 to 11.7 in 2018. This, along with the disorderly conduct rate increasing from 34.1 to 45.2, are record highs.

With healthcare facilities needing to prepare for a number of violent threats, they also need the tools that help them respond to these kinds of incidents. A mass notification system tied into existing devices and systems can help alert people that a violent event is taken place, signal for assistance, and lockdown key areas to prevent other patients, visitors, and staff from becoming harmed. In this blog post, we’ll provide actionable use cases that healthcare facilities can implement to help respond to violent crimes.

Panic Button Triggers

Mass notifications help healthcare facilities achieve the speed and reach they need to alert the right people about violent situations. Because these can often be busy, noisy environments, having the right tools that communicate the right message can speed up response times and enhance safety for those that might be in immediate danger. The key is to identify what situations people need to be alerted about and how they can easily request assistance.

Learn about simple active shooter alerts

The first step of that process requires healthcare officials to gather key personnel who can provide knowledgeable input about the types of situations your facility is likely to encounter. If your facility does not have any prior incidents to draw from, consider looking at incidents other groups have experienced. It’s important to get opinions from those that are responsible for different functions. That means including facilities, administrators, security personnel, and other staff members who can provide insight and help prioritize what safety projects to tackle first.

Understand how to secure buy-in from multiple departments

Once you understand the situations you need to prepare for, then you can begin to determine the best way to alert people. In hospitals and other healthcare environments, many devices are already in place that can be enhanced when connected to a mass notification system. Overhead paging and IP desk phones are two common pieces of technology that can be used for communication. When connected to a mass notification system phones can be used to trigger messages via a configured virtual panic button or speed dial code. The message can then be broadcast to overhead paging systems to alert others who can provide assistance.

It’s important that different buttons and codes are developed for different events and the corresponding messages reflect the proper situations and steps people should take.

Build a Mass Notification Ecosystem

However, IP phones and overhead paging are just a starting point of what’s possible when it comes to mass notification in a healthcare environment. In addition to customized messages, healthcare facilities can expand the reach of their messages even further with integrations into digital signage, desktop computers, mobile devices and more. The more options you have for alerting people the more likely it is you can reach everyone. It also provides opportunities to control who hears or sees a message that goes out. Zone controllers and designated groups can partition where messages get sent. This can be particularly helpful in sensitive healthcare environments where it may not be prudent to alert an entire building.

With a fully functioning mass notification ecosystem in your healthcare facility, when a violent event takes place, you can easily trigger an alert from an IP phone. An audio message can then be played through overhead paging systems, IP speakers, or other devices capable of broadcasting sound. Text and visuals can appear on IP phones, desktop computers, and digital signage. Strobes can flash, and doors can lock to protect others and contain a threat. With violent incidents on the rise, healthcare environments need to be doing all they can to help keep staff, patients, and visitors safe and informed




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