Make no mistake, 2020 to 2021 has proven to be an inflection point for security leaders across all industries. For healthcare facilities, adapting security operations, including how mission-critical environments conduct monitoring and response, has been particularly complex and transformational. After all, hospitals and centers of care alike were on the frontlines of an unprecedented crisis, leading to an inevitable change in their overall security posture and accelerated advancements in emergency management, command and control.
Consequently, siloed departments and agencies were forced to collaborate and work closely with security management—often referred to as security convergence—resulting in not only the development of new response plans, but also in discovering that Healthcare Security Operations Centers (SOCs) must be leveraged for more than just traditional camera monitoring and dispatch.
Working Together Towards Transformation
The next generation of healthcare security planning relies on digital transformation that’s informed by convergence. Emergency and business continuity plans, particularly pandemic plans, have propelled both small healthcare centers and large-scale enterprises down a post-pandemic path driven by new security concerns, ever-evolving cyber and physical threats, and more broadly, a swelling need for easier, faster, and better intelligence monitoring.
According to a survey conducted by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions in February 2021, to achieve this, technology teams should work closely with the business and bring in experts with human-centered design to build a connected, scalable technology infrastructure and to understand the whole ecosystem, its various components, the overall healthcare security and safety goals and the relationships between interconnected data sources.
New Technologies, New Insights
Lest we forget, security, emergency management and access control in any healthcare setting requires situational awareness. During the pandemic, security managers had to swiftly work with technology leaders and stakeholders to determine how to improve and adapt monitoring campus-wide. The most nimble and effective security teams carefully assessed their immediate needs in response to a growing crisis, but also looked at investing in technology through a future-proofing lens.
As a result, these organizations overhauled existing security operations centers with a focus on the health and safety of the operators and their ability to respond and make decisions efficiently. These SOCs bring a number of systems and sensors together so that command and control becomes centralized; that’s the foundation. But security modernization for healthcare SOCs informed by the pandemic also expands beyond that.
For instance, reliable and ultra-high-resolution video walls with sit/stand ergonomic consoles can be designed and implemented to enable easier sharing and better visualization of real-time data—facilitating the most accurate and efficient interpretation of relevant visual information throughout the healthcare facility. This includes sources that have been widely adopted by healthcare security management prior to the pandemic, such as access control and visitor management, infant tracking alarms, Epic interface and health record systems, intrusion and vandalism detection, fire and alarm systems, video surveillance of high-risk areas and Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) call box systems and dispatch.
Now, as administrations learn from emergency planning and enter the next generation of healthcare security, it’s clear that there is a higher level of maturity in regard to use cases for advanced measures, spanning innovations in AI-based and intelligent security solutions, including but not limited to:
- Capacity management and crowd control
- Touchless access control, including at secondary levels to certain clinical areas
- Thermal screening for temperatures of individuals and the presence of weapons
- Facial, behavioral and object recognition
- Predictive analytics for resources and broader physical security staffing
- Video surveillance of isolation and lockdown zones
- Medical asset tracking and loss prevention
- Integrated and/or mobile patient monitoring systems
- Safekeeping and monitoring of nuclear and radiological material
- Video management systems with customized dashboards, analytics and reporting
- Web browser mirroring
- 911, field officer and third-party agency coordination
- Live traffic and weather updates
- Video conferencing and interactive collaboration
- Mobile streaming
- Social media monitoring
- Cybersecurity monitoring and services
Command and control that’s strengthened with any combination of these tech-driven security advancements becomes inherently valuable to the overall delivery of healthcare. It’s all about managing patient decision support. To guarantee efficient care, healthcare SOCs need to consider overhauling control rooms with integrations that allow them to leverage real-time video and tracking data, such as the number of beds available, how many patients need rooms, the duration of patient wait times, inventory and allocation of PPE and other medical supplies.
What’s more, analytics dashboards can forecast to help staff proactively manage the strain on their health system. Video monitoring powered by AI and connected with essential communications systems yields far more situational awareness for SOC operators and allows them to better coordinate patient transfers, emergency dispatch, helicopter and ambulance movements, as well as allocate appropriate staff and resources. Working with an experienced and forward-thinking integrator will ensure that all of these new endpoints ingesting mission-critical data into the SOC function reliably, with operators in mind, and as a centralized hub.
Cybersecurity & Enabling Hybrid Operations
Healthcare providers are looking to their technology integrators to help create collaborative hybrid environments that are still secure in the wake of a growing demand for more agile solutions. Remote operators will need to access critical information and safely create and share data while also remaining productive. The approach? Expanding your security perimeter by building cybersecurity protocols tailored around employee workflow, hybrid video conferencing, and your overall security operations. Cyberattacks have ramped up during the pandemic, and there’s no sign that phishing attacks and data breaches are slowing down. Fortunately, a knowledgeable integrator partner will not only ensure that all remote access capabilities are tested and endpoints used by workers are patched, but also assist in developing response protocols and cybersecurity monitoring capabilities specific to a healthcare SOCs expanded hybrid environment.
The Next Generation of Command, Control and Care
Vistacom has become invested in understanding the challenges of the healthcare market, and our team of control room specialists has been dedicated to helping organizations advance their security operations to be resilient and meet the needs of tomorrow’s patients and care providers.
Whether you’re looking to make updates to your healthcare SOC, command center or control room, or transform your mission-critical space into an intelligent, next-gen operations center, contact us today to talk about how we can help with the basics: provide efficient, reliable emergency response, improve coordination and oversight, and keep patients, staff and visitors safe.