Fear to Awareness: Understanding Medical Security Vulnerabilities

The Government Accountability Office released a report this month that shows that attacks against healthcare workers rose to 24,000 from 2011 to 2013. That is after the Department of Justice did a report in 2011 that revealed 22,000 attacks on medical workers.

But based on recent reports that number may have been higher than 80,000. In a profession that is five times more vulnerable to physical violence than most other private sector occupations according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical security has not been a high priority.

Threats Facing Medical Workers

A patient comes into the emergency room with an injury while intoxicated or on drugs. A nurse goes to draw blood or transport them, and the next thing you know, that hospital worker is kicked, punched, slapped, or otherwise abused. These are the types of threats that medical workers face on a daily basis.

Most hospitals are underprepared for violent incidents. Patients come in from all walks of life including the indigent, the mentally unstable, and the violent. All workers and patients are in the line of fire. The report also found that the majority of attacks are coming from distraught or troubled patients and their families.

Replacing Fear with Awareness

The worst thing you can do during a medical security breach is to panic. Fear is a counter-productive instinct in those situations. You don’t think straight, and you will either react the wrong way, or you won’t react at all.

Emergency rooms are by far at the highest risk. Long-term residential care facilities also report a high number of attacks against medical workers. When you know where the threats are coming from, what they are, and what to do in the face of violence, that awareness will replace your fear and cause you to act swiftly and rationally.

Assessing the Threat

Many hospitals do not have the resources to hire the type of expert security staff needed to confront the types of threats facing healthcare workers. That’s why many are turning to private security consulting firms to assess the threats posed to their workers.

Assessing the threat is the first step in securing your medical facilities. An SVA or Security Vulnerability Assessment examines all areas of potential threats including medical records which can also pose a medical security threat if hackers can access them electronically.

Making a Security Plan

Once the threat level is assessed, and the vulnerabilities are discovered, it is time to make a security plan. A solid security plan will account for a wide range of possible threats from sexual harassment to hostage situations.

A plan is just the first step. You will also need the personnel who can carry it out. That is where USSS, Inc. comes in; we can assess the threat, make the plan, and help you to implement it. We are highly trained security specialists with expert-level training to handle a wide range of security threats posed at many different industries, including medical security. Contact us today to learn more about our security consulting services.