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Solving the healthcare visitor problem with visitor identity management (VIM)

Security is of the utmost importance in the healthcare setting so that patients and staff alike can focus their attention on improved clinical outcomes. Unfortunately, visitors are often a contributing factor to safety incidents – and the burden on hospital staff has increased exponentially since the onset of the pandemic. Let’s review the current state of healthcare workplace safety and how an automated, cyber-physical approach can help eliminate administrative hassle and strengthen safety protocols.

Global pandemic adds undue strain

The ongoing global pandemic has placed enormous strain on healthcare systems – and we are only beginning to understand the impact in terms of both patient outcomes and healthcare worker wellbeing. Recent analysis by Press Ganey revealed an increase in patient safety events of all types during 2020. In late 2021, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security released a new report sharing survey results from 1,189 healthcare workers in which 47 percent reported feelings of burnout.

Even prior to the current stressors placed on healthcare systems by the pandemic, hospitals were a relatively dangerous place to work. While we expect a high level of danger from industries like construction or manufacturing, healthcare presents a more high-risk environment than both. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, incidents of serious workplace violence are four times more common in healthcare than in private industry. And in 2019, U.S. hospitals recorded 221,400 work-related injuries and illnesses, which amounts to 5.5 work-related injuries and illnesses for every 100 full-time employees.

Visitors play a role in workplace violence

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, violence is among the top five causes of injury among hospital workers. Those acts of violence stem from a mix of patient and visitor aggressions. Among the most common acts committed against nurses, which are shouting and yelling, swearing, and grabbing, visitors account for 35.8, 24.9 and 1.1 percent of incidences according to the American Nursing Association. From 2013-18, roughly 33 percent of nurses reported verbal abuse by visitors and 3.5 percent reported physical abuse.

The pandemic has only increased these types of incidences. A Missouri hospital, for example, recently installed panic buttons on their badges to summon hospital security as needed.

Fully automated visitor identity management can help

A cyber-physical approach to visitor management that incorporates automation can both strengthen vetting protocols and relieve the administrative burden on staff. Our visitor identity management (VIM) software, for example, automates the entire visitor identity lifecycle from pre-registration to check-in, on-site experience and check-out. And compliance never comes into question, since VIM software integrates with the Epic HL7 interface to retrieve patient and visitor data.

Here’s how it works:

  • When a patient is admitted to the hospital, Epic generates an HL7 message that processes the event and creates a patient profile.
  • VIM syncs this information, pulling patient information like the patient’s name, department, MRN unique identifier, and more
  • The system pushes back HL7 messages for discharge and updates using the same interface

An Epic Approach To Healthcare Visitor Identity Management

Here’s where the practical benefits start to set in. The software creates a visitor profile associated with the appropriate patient. From there, visitors can check in and out on their own through a self-service kiosk app. Or, staff can issue visitor stickers, technology badges or advanced mobile credentials using lobby workstation software.

Beyond automation efficiencies, VIM also ensures the highest level of safety and security for everyone in the building. The software automatically vets visitors against internal and third-party watch lists before issuing an approved profile. Additionally, VIM software integrates with physical access control systems so that a visitor’s physical access would remain limited to only approved areas of the hospital. By leveraging both systems, healthcare facilities with heightened security needs, such as children’s hospitals, can create a much more controlled environment for patients and staff.

Manage new vaccination and testing data

Another major challenge facing the healthcare system is compliance with the emergency temporary standard issued by OSHA, which requires adequate personal protective equipment, timely exposure reporting and more. In a survey of over 5,000 registered nurses conducted by National Nurses United (NNU), just 23 percent said their employer reported COVID-19 exposures in a timely manner.

Using VIM software, healthcare providers can automate workflows related to COVID-19 health and safety compliance, as well as vaccination checks, to expedite the management and flow of critical health data. And with a secure record of all visitor comings and goings, healthcare systems have one more reliable, auditable data point to conduct contact tracing.

Start now with Alert Enterprise

An automated, cyber-physical approach to managing the visitor experience increases the number of checks and balances available to secure an already stressful working environment. In short, visitors get a better experience – and staff have more time to focus on higher-value work. Meanwhile, automated workflows for vaccination and physical access can help expedite compliance with new requirements and contact tracing in the event of an exposure.

Thanks to our integration with Epic software, your organization can reap these benefits using the systems you already have in place. Let’s connect to discuss how we can relieve the burden on staff and strengthen security at your facility.

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A black and white headshot of David Cassady.

David Cassady

Chief Strategy Officer

David Cassady has been selling and leading teams in Silicon Valley for more than 30 years. During that time, he’s led a mix of established software players and startups. Cassady has also been involved with five IPOs — and at least as many acquisitions. 

As Chief Strategy Officer, David leverages his extensive experience helping software businesses drive growth through deep and impactful partnerships with the world’s most successful SaaS providers like ServiceNow, Microsoft and SAP. 

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Mark Weatherford

Chief Security Officer
Senior Vice President, Regulated Industries

Mark Weatherford brings years of high-level cyber-physical expertise to Alert Enterprise, and as Chief Security Officer (CSO), he guides the strategy of data management and protection by advising cyber-physical security policies and procedures within the company. Weatherford also works in liaison with businesses and executive professionals in the cyber and physical security industries to further accelerate security convergence adoption.

Mark has held numerous high-level cyber-centric positions, including Vice President and Chief Security Officer at the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the Department of Homeland Security’s first Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity under the Obama administration, California’s first Chief Security Officer, and the first CISO for the state of Colorado.

A black and white headshot of Harsh Chauhan

Harsh Chauhan

Chief Technology Officer

As Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Alert Enterprise, Harsh Chauhan is responsible for the company’s engineering technology innovation and solution delivery. A 20-year technology veteran and leader, Chauhan is focused on the growth of the company’s 3D Governance Risk Compliance (GRC) hyperscale cloud platform.

He also continues to develop integrated solutions with leading technology partners like SAP, SAP NS2, and ServiceNow. Before Alert Enterprise, Mr. Chauhan held multiple CTO positions, as well as Product Owner and Head of Development at SAP GRC 10.0, delivering targeted solutions to high-profile SAP clients.

Ruby Deal headshot

Ruby Deol

Chief Operations Officer

Ruby Deol oversees all business units at Alert Enterprise. With more than 20 years of experience in global sales and support services, Deol nurtures existing client relationships with a customer-first approach. As Alert Enterprise continues to grow in industry recognition and stature, Deol is charged with developing and implementing methods to meet organization goals and facilitate the company’s ongoing transformation.
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Kaval Kaur

CFO and Co-Founder

As Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Co-Founder of Alert Enterprise, Kaval Kaur leads all finance and administrative back-office operations. Kaur is a member of the national professional organization American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the California State CPA Society.

Prior to joining Alert Enterprise, she was the CFO and Co-Founder of Virsa Systems, a position she held until its acquisition by SAP.

Kaur is a philanthropist at heart, embracing the diversity of the San Francisco Bay area by assisting with and promoting special cultural events. She recently sponsored 2,000 public schools in rural India to advance computer literacy skills for children and is a foster mother to a 10 year old.

Jasvir Gill

Founder and CEO

Leading the charge of digital transformation and security convergence is Jasvir Gill, Founder and CEO of Alert Enterprise, Inc. An accomplished engineer by trade, Gill is driving the long-overdue digital transformation of the physical security industry.

Prior to launching Alert Enterprise, Gill was the founder and CEO of Virsa Systems, where he grew the company into a global leader of application security software. An early pioneer in establishing governance, risk and compliance as a software market segment, he drove exponential growth at Virsa, facilitating its acquisition by SAP in 2006.

In his free time, Jasvir helps drive social and economic empowerment in the community. He’s also a trustee at the American India Foundation.