More urgent care centers have opened their doors around the country to meet the growing demand among patients. Patients often prefer urgent care centers over emergency rooms because freestanding facilities offer greater convenience, reduced wait times, and lower co-pays. But as the number of urgent care centers rises, so too do the security concerns.
The quick answer is yes, urgent care centers most definitely need security systems, including surveillance cameras.
The security concerns of urgent care centers
Many urgent care facilities are located in isolated areas away from urban centers. This means there are fewer drive-by visits from police officers and a longer response time when police intervention is required. In addition, urgent care centers often operate with a skeleton crew to cut costs, which makes them more appealing targets for the criminal element.
So what exactly are the security risks for urgent care centers? It can vary widely. On one end of the spectrum, urgent care centers and other healthcare facilities are prime targets for individuals looking to steal drugs. These attacks may be planned and coordinated. On the other end of the spectrum, healthcare workers must frequently deal with patients who are mentally disturbed, and potentially hostile and aggressive.
Urgent care centers need surveillance cameras and other security solutions to protect their employees. Surveillance cameras that are easy to spot and situated in obvious locations (such as at the front entrance and near the triage desk) can help discourage planned and spontaneous attacks. In addition, they serve to collect evidence that may be used later in court.
The unique concerns of surveilling healthcare facilities
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) establishes privacy protections for patients that all healthcare facilities, no matter how small, must abide by. It’s essential for urgent care centers to conduct a thorough risk assessment before setting up a surveillance system, with an eye toward preventing HIPAA violations by ensuring patient privacy.
It’s generally considered acceptable to place surveillance cameras in public places, such as waiting rooms, but not in private patient treatment areas. In addition, surveillance cameras near computing stations should be adjusted so as to avoid capturing sensitive patient data as they appear on staff computer screens. Staff training is also necessary regarding the risk of HIPAA violations with surveillance cameras. This is particularly important in facilities in which staff use portable computing devices, like iPads, which could potentially reveal sensitive data in view of surveillance cameras.
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How to safeguard urgent care centers
Surveillance cameras are clearly a crucial component of a comprehensive security system for urgent care centers and other healthcare facilities. Contact Maryland Security Professionals to discuss your urgent care center surveillance camera options and our other services, including employee background checks. We provide reliable commercial and residential security camera systems throughout the mid-Atlantic region, including Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and beyond. During your free consultation, we’ll help you find a security solution that fits your property’s protection needs and your budget.
- The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine, The Finer Points of Video Surveillance in an Urgent Care Center, https://www.jucm.com/the-finer-points-of-video-surveillance-in-an-urgent-care-center/
- Hospital Safety Center, Freestanding ERs present unique safety concerns, http://www.hospitalsafetycenter.com/content/324917/topic/WS_HSC_HSA.html