Workplace violence is a growing concern in healthcare. Whether it be financial costs or regulatory components, the defeating impacts of violence against caregivers are no surprise. The most unfortunate piece of it all is that violence is simply expected. However, it can be mitigated with proper preparation.
Paul Sarnese, healthcare security and safety expert and consultant, recently presented his preparedness approach in an ASHRM webinar with a focus on the role location technology can play in de-escalating events. Here’s a recap.
Sophisticated Technology to Enhance Security
We live in an age where technology gets smarter every day. AI and cameras can detect if weapons are present or if someone’s demeanor aggressively changes. Facial recognition can grant employees access to certain locations, open a door for them and more. Or if you’re the bad guy, close a door, trigger an alert or even send an elevator to a certain floor for security teams. It’s truly amazing what technology can do.
One piece of technology Paul broke down even further was real-time locating systems (RTLS) and the comparison of duress and panic buttons. He compared RTLS in healthcare to the purpose of a GPS. Just as you would use a GPS to help direct yourself to important locations, RTLS guides you to important locations for a person or asset, providing workflow efficiency. The RTLS technology communicates to the software who (or what) it is and their location. This is beneficial for use cases such as workflow or asset tracking, but it’s even more profound for staff duress situations.
When discussing duress and panic buttons, they are similar yet different. They are considered personal wearables, which is important for caregivers because the buttons are embedded into their everyday badge, making them accessible and more embraceable. It also gives caregivers freedom of movement, helping them provide care and services without disruption.
The difference is in how they function. A personal duress button is covertly placed and easily accessible for situations where silent notifications are needed. A panic button is more overtly placed and intended for situations where silent notifications are not required. When considering the type of security and safety that is needed in your health system, it’s important to understand how duress and panic buttons function and their purpose.
Paul believes staff duress RTLS technology to be a crucial tool in the battle against workplace violence. “Being discreet is everything. Technology must discreetly trigger the appropriate response without making a situation worse,” he said.
Single Source of Truth to Drive Decision Making
Paul also stressed the importance of data for improving security responsiveness and protocols. While statistics indicate workplace violence is very common in high-intense environments like emergency departments and behavioral health units, health systems “can’t assume that’s where violence happens the most. You need data to understand how violence is unfolding in your health system.”
Robust analytics is where the most value is seen in RTLS technology, and it’s what helps drive decision making. Health systems need to have access to and review data points frequently, like how often events are happening, where are they happening, who was the attacker and who was the victim, what was the injury, what was the response or outcome and more. This data is a single source of truth that helps health systems better understand how they can de-escalate events faster, or in some cases, reduce the number of events altogether. Without data, you’re only partway to improved safety and security.
First-Hand RTLS Considerations
Paul works with healthcare organizations across the country, and he sees common threads throughout. Based on his first-hand experiences, he had a few pieces of advice for implementing RTLS technology.
“Scalability is very important. Your RTLS technology must be able to scale with you. Start small, like in the ED, and let the benefits speak for themselves. The rest of your organization will be asking for the solution too.”
Cloud software and Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE) technology empowers quick deployment and scalability. As an early adopter of these technologies, Midmark RTLS CareFlow™ Cloud Staff Duress helps health systems quickly prioritize safety in areas that need it most.
“Make sure you utilize your existing infrastructure. Maximize what you have for asset tracking or workflows and expand on them with solutions like staff duress.”
RTLS is a journey, not a destination. What you want to do with RTLS today matters to what you want to do with it in the future. It’s important to consider your long-term RTLS goals.
“The most successful RTLS launches include the end user in the selection process. Get staff voices involved and make sure they are comfortable and familiar with it.”
The key to RTLS success is just as much about the people and process as it is the technology. As a people-centric organization, Midmark RTLS clinically-versed customer success coaches help drive staff and patient satisfaction go-live and beyond.
From adopting workplace violence prevention programs to embracing modern technologies like RTLS staff duress, addressing violence is paramount to ensuring safety and creating a secure yet efficient healthcare environment. To learn more about Staff Duress from Midmark RTLS, watch this video.
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