female doctor comforting middle aged patientEmergency rooms and other healthcare environments often employ security via “perimeters within perimeters,” says Dave Weldon, contributor at Healthcare Finance. The goal is to increase security in vulnerable locations like maternity wards and pharmacies. “Much of the new security attention,” continues Weldon, “is focused on protecting points of entry without impacting the ‘public openness and accessibility’ mission.”

Modern technologies like cloud-based access control and improvements in identity and access management could be keys to making that desire a reality. Through them, identity becomes the ultimate perimeter. It determines if a person can access the building, room, or device. Security and safety increase without inconveniencing moms in the maternity ward or senior citizens picking up prescriptions at the pharmacy.

Trust and authentication

Identity can be used for trust and authentication in a number of ways. It could be a social identity, i.e., Facebook or LinkedIn, tied to a person’s credentials. It could be a biometric identity; as technologies improve, biometrics is becoming less intrusive and more practical and beneficial.

Regardless of the identity type employed, it provides a measure of trust, which, in turn, leads to authentication. Both pieces are paramount, and the first must occur first. Authentication does little good if it can’t be trusted.

Mobile identities

What will a person’s identity tie to in the empowered healthcare setting? Traditionally, it’s been key cards. It may continue to be that way for some time to come; most physicians, nurses, and other healthcare personnel wear some sort of identification badge.

Identity could, however, be linked with a mobile device, which opens opportunities for not only healthcare staff but also patients and their friends and family members. How would the healthcare experience change if a past patient could enter the clinic and be automatically added to a digital queue? What would it be like if patients didn’t have to fill out a patient form but could instead have it automatically served to medical professionals via their mobile identity?

They’re interesting questions and not ones with easy answers or solutions. But the solutions are achievable. A different healthcare experience is possible with mobile devices tied to personal identities.

Situational security

The ultimate goal with improving identification, trust, and authentication is a healthcare environment that is open to everyone. However, the openness of the facility should be determined on a case-by-case basis, says Bill Nesbitt, president of Security Management Services International.

Lee Odess, our VP of Marketing and Enterprise Sales, puts Nesbitt’s statement this way:

The security industry has historically inconvenienced 99 percent of people who come to your office to protect against the one bad guy. We’re trying to flip it and say, “Let’s make it convenient for 99 percent of the people who come, and, for that one percent, let’s make them jump through some hoops.”

The best way to accomplish that isn’t through more locked doors and extra steps but through situational awareness. When a healthcare’s security system can monitor both the environment and the people and respond in real-time, security and safety increase. People get the care they need because they are “known” from the moment they step through the doors.

Want to learn more about improving experiences via cloud-based access control? Contact us today.

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