Tip of the Week: Creating an environment that is friendly and secure

Hospital Safety Insider, March 3, 2011

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The following is an excerpt from the March issue of Briefings on Hospital Safety.

Balance safety with customer service to create welcoming environment

The primary concern for hospital security is the safety of everyone in the healthcare environment, from patients and visitors to employees.

But there is also a balancing act. Patients and visitors expect a friendly and welcoming environment when they walk into a healthcare facility. Hospital administrators and designers go to great lengths to make hospitals warm and comfortable.

For hospital security departments that want to establish a secure and enforceable environment, there’s a thin line between friendly and intimidating. Steven MacArthur, senior consultant at The Greeley Company, a division of HCPro, Inc., in Danvers, MA, offers a few suggestions on how to establish a secure hospital environment without sacrificing customer service.

Lessons learned from banks

Banks are one example of a sector that combines customer service and high-level security. Few people walk into a bank without knowing cameras are watching their every move or being aware of the potential for a violent act. “When you think about it, a lot of the questions you are asking involve a transition in customers, but the environmental considerations are very similar,” MacArthur says.

For instance, many banks have bulletproof glass and surveillance cameras watching customers from every angle, but few customers become incensed about this fact, let alone even think about it, when they cash a check or make a deposit.

“Everyone knows that there are cameras in banks, but banks frequently use a mix of overt and covert cameras,” MacArthur says. “You’ve seen the images of people coming into banks with hoods obscuring their features, but sometimes cameras are positioned outside of the bank and can capture images that are more useful.”

Visit Briefings on Hospital Safety to read more.

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