MedCity Influencers

How Investing in Technology Can Help Improve Healthcare’s Workforce Shortages and Hospital Security

Utilizing innovative technologies to prevent workplace violence and enhance security in healthcare has the potential to increase staffing retention, ultimately improving hospital operations, administration, and the healthcare industry as a whole.

Hospitals are high-stress environments. Patients are seeking treatment, family members are awaiting news, and healthcare professionals are working to save lives. Now add to that, the prevalent threat of violence in hospitals, and it’s no surprise that healthcare workers are quitting, retiring, or simply moving on.

By 2033, the United States will face a shortage of up to 124,000 physicians and will also have to hire 200,000 nurses every year to keep up with the demand and to replace nurses who are retiring. A healthcare worker has a higher chance of being exposed to violence than a prison guard or a police officer, according to the American Hospital Association’s podcast, Advancing Health.

So here you have the people we depend on to take care of us at our most vulnerable points, people who are saving lives are leaving hospitals. In May 2022, the United States Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy issued an advisory on the health worker burnout crisis across the country, citing unsafe conditions as one factor. Now, the issue continues to increase – with no end in sight.

The costs of violence 

Many healthcare organizations don’t have the data to track incidents or severity, so they don’t know the costs of turnover. Well, here you have it:

  • Re-staffing: The cost to replace ONE nurse on average costs more than $50,000 / year and $150,000/year for traveler nurses.
  • Fines: Workplace violence OSHA Fines exceed $100,000 and when an organization is found guilty of not taking appropriate steps to keep workers safe on average, this can exceed $3 million for a jury award.

Hospitals take one look at the costs associated with higher security measures, technology implementation and become overwhelmed when these are strategic investments that come with highly positive ROI. When compared to the costs of turnover and fines, the benefits of investing in technology to streamline and automate security measures is very clear.

Managing your workforce and visitor access 

Managing the entire lifecycle of employees, visitors, partners, vendors, and contractors with automated workflows can streamline access and tighten security in hospitals. Managing badges, credentials, assets, and visitors based on identities and access facilitates having the right people, with the right tools at the right time while integrating with other organization systems. Enhancing efficiency and security provides peace of mind and a satisfactory work environment. Physicians, nurses and other hospital staff can come to work each day feeling safer and at ease.

In reality – making an “investment” in a Physical Identity Access Management [PIAM] solution would improve workflows, sense of security, employee satisfaction and would save healthcare organizations significant budget in both the short and long term.

How can a PIAM solution help prevent violence in and improve employee retention in hospitals?

  • Manage the entire visitor lifecycle, from the time the visitor is preregistered to the time they check-out.
  • Integrate with Human Resource Management System [HRMS] and leverage identities, roles and records managed by the Human Resource Department to provide consistency in provisioning and de-provisioning cardholders across physical security systems.
  • Automate Physical Access Control System [PACS] cardholder processes by providing and reporting to administration new hires, terminations and change requests based on security policies.
  • Reduce the manual interventions needed to provision these identities in existing PACS for Identity and Credential Management processes.
  • Ensure compliance with HIPPA guidelines.
  • Establish a framework to support disaster recovery, background checks, visitor management, building automation, IT security convergence, etc.

Hospitals need to collect the right data so that they can get approvals to integrate innovative technology like PIAM solutions into their infrastructure. This would save time, money and most importantly – lives.

Photo: okanmetin, Getty Images

Clete Bordeaux, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, has over 20 years of experience as a subject matter expert in the healthcare and security industry. In his current role, he serves as Healthcare Business Development Director for HID’s workforce identity management business unit. Clete’s focus is on the healthcare industry as it relates to enhancing the security of patients, employees, contractors, and visitors, as well as facilities and physical assets.

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