No specific sector is more involved in the national response to COVID-19 than healthcare, and for obvious reasons. With all the focus on clinical care and emergency preparedness, one critically overlooked area is often how best to utilize your healthcare organization’s security resources in the response. Here are three things that every healthcare security leader should be considering as we brace for the full effects of COVID-19.
Access control – Every healthcare organization is going to need effective access controls to help with isolation. As a security leader, are you looking at your access control program to see if there are areas where you can leverage your physical security resources to support the mission of isolation? How are you going to mitigate access by local media and others who may want to publicize or exploit cases within your facility? Physical security controls are critical to securing isolation areas and ensuring the integrity of quarantines. Now is the time to leverage those resources to help your organization control access.
Loss Prevention – Are you able to secure your organizations supplies effectively? Have you been evaluating the inventory and loss prevention controls for critical supplies like masks and disinfectant? It is a crazy thing to look at hand sanitizer as a critical resource, but right now it is treated like gold. There are plenty of people who will profit from theft or steal in order to hoard these supplies for themselves. The same goes for masks and other infection prevention supplies. The loss of these supplies is compounded by the international pressure on supply lines. This can leave your organization vulnerable, and unable to fulfill its core mission to care for patients – COVID-19 or otherwise.
Crowd Control – One thing we know about the COVID-19 pandemic is that it is very scary to a lot of people. Fear is a foundational emotion for irrational responses and violent behavior. In cases like this it should be expected that at some point there could be a rush on urgent care and emergency care facilities as people react to news about infected persons they may have encountered. These kinds of crowds can be panic filled and highly emotionally charged. As they exert pressure on facility capacity the increased wait times only fueling uncertainty and anxiety. Are you prepared to handle these types of crowds? Have you trained your staff well, and are you putting into place plans to mitigate the anxiety?
Of all the things healthcare security leaders should be considering, these three concerns are areas where proactive planning makes all the difference. What are you considering during the COVID-19 crisis? What plans has your facility put into place to help mitigate these issues? Share your concerns and considerations in the comments below. Also – please like, share and follow to support The Proactive Security Blog.