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Intel invests $15m in Prism SkyLabs


Prism Skylabs, a two-year-old startup founded by Ron Palmieri and 3VR’s Steve Russell has announced a $15 million Series B funding round led by Intel Capital, Intel Corporations’ investment and M&A business.

Florida doctor shot and killed by patient. Are hospitals safe enough?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The open-door policy that exists in hospitals makes it difficult to protect patients and staff. The murder last week of Dr. Dmitriy Nikitin, who was shot by a disgruntled patient as he walked from Florida Hospital's downtown building into the parking garage, is yet another example of violence in hospitals. After shooting the doctor that allegedly performed a life-saving transplant, Nelson Flecha shot and killed himself. According to an Orlando Sentinel article, the hospital is stepping up security in the wake of the incident, but doesn't specify how.

What can hospitals do to protect against this kind of senseless violence? The incident was apparently caught on video surveillance, but security didn't notice the shooter lurking in the parking garage. Also, because he didn't enter the facility, a visitor badge system coupled with an instant background check system wouldn't have helped either. Certainly, more security officers could be a deterrent, but this man was obviously disgruntled and on a mission. It's hard to stop that kind of person.

Violence is becoming more prevalent in hospitals. According to the article:

Last year, the Joint Commission — a nonprofit organization that accredits U.S. hospitals — reported that since 1995, there have been 256 assaults, rapes or homicides at hospitals and health-care facilities. Of those, 110 have occurred since 2007.

Some hospitals are taking unique and high-tech approaches to security. Earlier this year, I wrote this story about Atlantic Health, a large healthcare provider serving northern New Jersey and metropolitan New York and how they're relying on technology to help mitigate threats to staff and patients. For example, the hospital has deployed facial recognition technology in its emergency department to identify people within the hospital’s database who are considered high risk. The hospital also pays a monthly subscription fee in order to access several national databases, which determines in real-time if an individual has a criminal history, such as the National Crime Information Center, the federal Terrorist Screening Center watch list as well as all 50 state’s Department of Motor Vehicle databases.

Similarly, I wrote about Pacific Hospital of Long Beach is largely concerned about not allowing dangerous or unstable individuals into its facilities, and they focus on properly training their security officers. Supervisors are also given Android smartphones that they use to monitor video cameras in the hospitals instead of having to contact or visit the control room.

Are there other security measures hospitals should be taking? Are all hospitals considered high-risk because of their open-door policy?

Hospital security: Pandemics to shooters

Monday, October 20, 2008

On Friday I attended The International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety's 2008 Security Training Conference in Lewiston, Maine. I love going to these local events and getting some quality face time with some of the security professionals in the region. It's so much better than meeting people at big trade shows - neither of you are nearly as overwhelmed by people or products.

I'll admit I was surprised by the turnout. I'm guesstimating there were about 60- to 70-people in attendance and a good mix of people ranging from security officers (calling them "guards" is apparently a huge faux pas these days) to security director's of Boston's larger and smaller hospitals.

There were three primary educational sessions over the course of the day-long conference. The first session presented by Dora Mills, director of Maine Center for Disease Control, was about the importance of security personnel being prepared to deal with a pandemic flu outbreak. The primary message was that security leaders need to have an emergency plan in place (and know it!). What will your department do when there is an outbreak and sick people start overwhelming hospital facilities? What is your procedure for turning away sick people in an emergency? How are you going to deal with an understaffed department when security personnel start getting sick? All questions worth asking and her certainty of a pandemic flu outbreak certainly made me start washing my hands obsessively.

The second session was about what to do in the case of an active shooter in a hospital setting. I thought it was interesting to hear what police have learned from Columbine and how they've changed their tactics to dealing with an active shooter. They call it "move to contact" which basically means they'll do anything and everything necessary to stop the shooter. Don't wait for backup, don't wait for the SWAT team to show up, don't stop to help the injured, find the shooter and stop him/her. If the shooter barricades him or herself in, that's fine. The shooting has stopped and the police have time to evaluate the situation. The message to security and hospital administration was the need to provide police officers with clear and concise information about location and the current situation, since police are often entering these situations completely blind. (For the full story search "In wake of security officer shooting, healthcare professionals learn about active shooter" at Security Director News).

The last session was about bomb detection and response. I learned you can make a bomb out of just about anything. The part that scared me the most was discussion about the power and freedom of lithium batteries and the reality that someone can drop a pipe bomb in a building under construction and it won't go off for 10 years. Yikes. That should certainly motivate the installation of analytic cameras on construction sites to watch for that kind of event.

All of this discussion about hospital security came in the wake of the Sept. 7 fatal shooting of a security officer at Mercy Hospital in Portland, Maine (and, consequentially just a few blocks from my apartment, which freaks me out). Several officers and administrators from Mercy were in attendance and you could tell the tragedy was still very fresh. It was certainly a reminder of just how important these discussions are.