Medical equipment theft is an expensive problem. Just one medical care facility had 383 items valued at $11 million go missing over a four-year period according to a HealthDive article. Another facility discovered $50,000 worth of its medical equipment showed up on eBay.
An Action News 5 story in Memphis reveals one person stole more than $700,000 worth of medical equipment. The suspect fit in by wearing scrubs and a mask. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on a Department of Veterans Affairs employee who managed to swindle almost $2 million in medical equipment in Fulton County Georgia.
These don’t have to happen. It’s possible to deter medical equipment theft while enhancing safety and security.
What Can You Do to Boost Medical Equipment Security?
You can bolster your healthcare organization’s medical equipment security when you apply these five things.
1. Create a medical security plan
A medical security plan outlines the layout of the property to help identify weak areas of your healthcare facility security and how to address them. The plan includes information about security requirements for the interior and exterior of the property. Another critical component is to make it mandatory for all staff including healthcare providers to receive regular security training.
You can follow all the security recommendations to bolster your medical equipment security with multiple layers. However, all it takes is one healthcare staffer’s mistake to put the organization at risk for theft. Workers and security processes play a vital role in a healthcare facility’s security.
The medical security plan identifies the role of the person responsible for overseeing the security of the healthcare facility. This employee does not necessarily have to be a security professional. Rather, they will serve as the contact point and manage the healthcare organization’s security program.
For instance, if the medical facility installs remote video surveillance, then the employee overseeing its security will be the point of contact anytime something suspicious comes up. That person — or a designated backup (always have a backup in case something happens to the employee or they’re out of the office) — the video surveillance monitoring operator will contact them when there’s a concern.
The responsible employee will verify all new employees undergo security training when onboarding and current employees receive a refresher at least once a year. The point of the role is to place ownership of security-related activities with one person. That person can delegate as needed.
2. Use a medical equipment inventory system
A survey by Nursing Times has found that nurses waste one hour every shift searching for medical equipment! Wouldn’t that time be better spent with patients? This is where an inventory system will come in handy.
Before adding identifying information to your equipment (Step 3), you want to find an app to help you track your medical equipment inventory. This is where a medical equipment inventory system or an asset management tracking system can help. This kind of app lets you enter details about the medical equipment and attach photos of it in its file.
If medical equipment theft happens, then you’ll have all the information you need to report the stolen medical equipment to law enforcement, National Insurance Crime Bureau, and any other organization that requires this information.
Another helpful thing about the app is that you can get automatic notifications when it’s time to take your medical equipment in for maintenance. This extends its life and ensures it always works when you need it. People’s lives depend on it.
3. Add identifiable information to medical equipment
If you didn’t already have a system in place, it may feel overwhelming to start doing an inventory of all your assets. Now that you have a medical equipment tracking system, start adding bar codes, RFID, or other identifiable information to your most expensive medical equipment. For those assets, it may be worth inserting covert GPS trackers.
This app can do more than provide you with information about medical equipment after a theft occurs. GPS trackers can help you keep track of where all your assets are located. If any of the medical equipment breaks, then you can use the medical equipment inventory system to find a replacement.
GPS trackers are not perfect. Some sophisticated crime rings and thieves may use GPS jammers to stop the GPS from working. That’s why it’s important to add RFID or bar codes to medical equipment. Be sure to etch it in the equipment rather than use a label that will be removed.
4. Update software regularly
It’s critical to stay on top of software updates for medical equipment. Device makers may accidentally create a security hole in an update that they quickly issue an emergency patch. Make sure you get regular notifications from the device makers to keep your software updated.
A medical equipment inventory system can automate a lot of the processes and save you time. So, you’ll receive notifications of updates and expiration dates. It will reduce the likelihood of becoming vulnerable to cybersecurity threats.
5. Implement remote video surveillance
Unlike most traditional medical security systems and technology, remote video surveillance is a proactive security technology that also helps increase safety and productivity. Your healthcare organization and medical equipment can have eyes on it at all times to help ensure everything stays where they belong.
The trained monitoring operators watching your facility and medical equipment work from a remote location. Their lives are never at risk. This ensures they focus on helping to deter crime, theft, and minimize damage.
Trained monitoring operators have help. They work with video analytics and together they help find potential problems before damage occurs. This pairing will give you peace of mind knowing that your healthcare facility and medical equipment are being monitored for theft, safety problems, and other concerns.
Another advantage of your investment in remote video surveillance is that it helps deter crime. The sight of cameras does compel some would-be thieves to go elsewhere. If they don’t, then the monitoring operator can issue an audio warning. The audio warning stops some intruders. Whether or not you have the audio feature, the operator can call the police and provide them with updates until the problem is resolved.
A remote video surveillance system can also record and save everything for later review. Analysts can search footage and provide it to your healthcare organization for use in investigations and lawsuits. Therefore, the benefits and flexibility of video surveillance can help ensure you get a fast return on your investment.
Video surveillance can also stay on top of your safety hazards and anything else to make sure everything works. Some video surveillance systems come with a system health check. This is critical in ensuring the system works. If there are problems, many of the repairs can be done without stepping foot in your facility.
Work with a Company That Has Medical Industry Experience
While applying these five things can help cut your risk for medical equipment theft and maximize your security investment, you want to ensure your medical security investment gets a fast return on investment. The way to achieve that is to partner with a company that has experience in the healthcare industry. Every industry and even businesses in the same industry have different security recommendations.
Our security experts can review your requirements to create a customized security solution to help prevent medical equipment theft by watching over your most expensive life-saving assets. When you work with Stealth Monitoring, you will have options.
Here are some benefits of working with Stealth Monitoring. We can help with:
- Maximized security: The combination of human operators, video analytics, security cameras, monitoring, and audio speakers help increase medical security to avert crime.
- Faster response times: Trained monitoring operators can help catch something before anything happens. They contact the police and provide updates in real time. Stealth has relationships with law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and Canada. When they get a call from Stealth, they know there’s a problem and respond.
- Liability protection: Provides evidence of incidents for insurance claims and lawsuits.
Video surveillance systems save on costs in that they help reduce theft, cut risk, and potentially lower insurance premiums. Investing in a video surveillance system can result in a quick ROI. As you search for security companies, ask to see their videos and case studies. Here’s a list of the best questions to ask a security company to help.
Stealth Monitoring can build a security system to meet your healthcare organization’s budget and requirements. To learn more, check out this free guide on Security Systems 101. Want to know more about remote video surveillance? Contact us.