Medical office security is top of mind for every practice, no matter what size. There are many steps that can be taken to improve security, many of which require inexpensive outlays and measures. To find out what is best for your medical practice, it’s suggested you hire a security consultant to visit the premises and conduct a thorough security analysis. This review can identify weak spots and provide a clear action plan for upgrading security.
To help get you started, we have compiled a best practice guide for your office security. Avoid the pitfalls of keeping your property protected while away; our guide can give you the tips for planning and effectively working with your security consultant and team.
Where to Get Started
The best place to start when examining security is the physical layout of the premises itself, or the layout of the larger building of which your medical practice is a part of. Design should take in wide, open areas with clear sight lines, hallways and offices with no nooks or crannies where an intruder could hide in the shadows.
Keep areas within the property well lit; especially after hours when employees might be working alone or in small groups. Doors and windows are the most obvious access points to an office and should be secure. You should avoid double doors as they are easily hinged open. Entrance way doors, specifically those used for deliveries, should be steel to add security and aid in fire protection. Door hinges should face inward and use non-removable pins and screws. Combination locks on washrooms and other common areas are also an excellent option for added security.
Here are other suggestions to help increase security in your medical office:
Install key-card access systems at main and side entrances for staff.
Upgrade perimeter control systems with intercoms and closed circuit monitoring devices.
Keep master and extra keys locked in a security office.
Have a back up communication system, like two-way radio.
Arrange office space so suspect visitors can be easily noticed.
Have staff follow strict access control procedures.
Keep important and confidential documents locked in secure cabinets.
Keep office areas neat and orderly to identify strange objects.
Lock closets, service openings, telephone and electrical closets at all times.
Keep publicly accessible restroom doors locked and set up a key control system.
An Additional Security Tip to Implement
Aside from the general guidelines and tips (listed above), consider implementing this security measure:
Set Up Secure Areas in the Building. Consider maintaining one or more “secure rooms” on your premises. This area can serve as a retreat in case of intrusion or other danger. You should equip the room with:
First aid equipment
Phone and backup communication equipment
Bomb blankets and hardened walls
Emergency tool kit
Extra food and clothing
Large flashlight and batteries
Get in Touch
In general, you need to ensure that medical office security is a measure to be installed in advance. Additional security steps ensure heightened safety when employees and staff are away. Whether your medical practice is new or established, Boulevard Medical Properties has the expertise and knowledge to help guide you. Avoid the pitfalls of securing your property; our expert staff can give you the tips for planning and effectively securing your medical office.
Smart technology is increasingly popular, and it is not new to healthcare either. Although it may not be as prevalent as it is commercially, smart technology is a major topic for medical suites and hospitals today. It’s all about gathering, sharing and using information with the lofty aspirations of improving care while also cutting costs.
The emphasis is on functional interoperability of medical devices and systems to develop a fully interconnected medical institution where data is seamlessly linked and readily available among devices and systems, particularly in electronic health records. But the question lingers, is it worth the investment?
4 Benefits of Smart Technology in the Medical Industry
An intelligent medical suite is based on a combination of existing technologies that are designed, set up and integrated to share data in real-time; and ultimately to provide an enhanced level of clinical information to enable diagnosis, to monitor treatment, and to provide data to see how your practice is performing. 4 key ways adopting smart tech can help are:
1. Increase Medication Compliance
Mobile technology can help patients adhere to their medication orders. It can provide patients with pertinent information on why medical adherence is necessary, especially prescription adherence. The technology can send patients messages and updates, providing them easy, convenient access to readily available information.
Smart technology can calculate when a prescription will run out and send the patient a reminder to get a refill. When the patient refills their prescription, smart tech can send dosage reminders and ask the patient if they took their medication or not.
These capabilities offer medical suites a resource to help lower medication noncompliance and to reduce readmissions.
2. Improve the Post-Treatment Process
Smart technology is a medium for patients and medical suites to monitor hospital discharge instructions and double-check prescriptions. This convenience helps improve medication accuracy and patient safety.
Patients receive a lot of paperwork and instructions upon discharge from their in- or out-patient care. This is not conducive to patients remembering detailed treatment and post-evaluation care (i.e. prescription requirements). Tech can help patients recall the information they receive at discharge by sending post-treatment instruction reminders.
3. Granting Patients Access to Health Information
Given many people now tend to Google possible causes of health issues, embracing smart technology that provides accurate information is a must. Current technology can help medical suites and healthcare professionals realize the value in storing and monitoring a patient’s historical information. Making information that is already accumulated and stored about a patient readily available improves evidence-based practice standards.
4. Bigger Data for Improved Healthcare
Smart technologies can provide physicians information on the newest and greatest evidence-based medical best practices. Mobile applications can be developed to track health outcomes and evaluate where deviations from expected outcomes occurred and why; allowing medical professionals to identify areas for improvement.
Big data may improve the healthcare system’s ability to assess population health. Mobile technologies can use applications to track health trends as an early indicator of emerging health issues.
Things You Should Consider before Investing in Smart Tech
Smart tech is revolutionizing the way patients and physicians connect, access and analyze information, and communicate.
While this technology has many great implications, it also raises red flags among some practitioners. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has issued and amended their oversight to specific mobile medical applications and how they are used to perform diagnostics. This evolving legislative landscape highlights the dangers associated with use of mobile technology:
Data Privacy. Free and paid apps may send unencrypted data to advertisers and third party data analytics firms. This information is used for behavioral tracking, transmitting detailed personal information to advertisers.
HIPAA Concerns. Many medical practices are aware of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). However, many app developers haven’t considered the importance of HIPAA compliance as required by the medical profession. Up to 50% of health apps have vague or non-existent privacy policies. Some fail to use encryption technology to protect data breaching during the transmission and storage of sensitive information.
At one time or another, every medical practice considers whether it is better off to rent or buy its office space. The decision varies.
We’ve compiled a few helpful factors you should consider as you evaluate and strategize your location and move.
Rent or Buy?
The Cash Flow Factor
Typically, you don’t need to invest as much money upfront when you rent as you do when you buy. For example: When you rent, your upfront cost typically comprises the first month’s rent, a security deposit, and extra dollars over the allowance to build out your medical space. When buying, pay for an appraisal, building inspections, loan fees, all the improvement dollars, and other costs.
The Fixed/Variable Cost Factor
Buying an office building gives you a good idea of what your annual costs will be, especially if you get a fixed-rate loan on the property. However, you must be prepared for costs associated with refinancing. Renting an office, on the other hand, is subject to market changes when your lease term expires. Many rental agreements also have a clause allowing for an annual cost increase tied to changes in the Consumer Price Index or some other measure.
The Expansion and Growth Factor
Buying a building to relocate may seem attractive, but factor in the potential for growth and expansion. Outgrowing a space doesn’t have to be a financial crisis. If your practice increases so much that it needs twice the space of the building you have, you can lease out the building at a profit and move your practice into a new, larger space.
Outgrowing a space doesn’t have to involve relocation. Sometimes a growing practice can avoid the cost of moving by simply leasing more space in the building it occupies (subletting). That, however, is not an option when you own a building unless you’re only occupying part of it and another space is available.
The Appreciation Factor
Buying a building opens the door to real estate investing, especially if you’re in an area of appreciating land values. If you own a building with more space than your practice needs, you will likely rent out available space to others, becoming a landlord. It can be profitable, but it can also be more work than simply renting a space.
Schedule a Consultation
In general, renting tends to appeal to medical practices, especially those that don’t want to make large upfront investments. Buying makes more sense if your practice is more established, wants to be in one location for several years, has the financial resources to take on a significant real estate investment.
Expanding your medical practice is a sure sign that you’re doing something right and that your patients find you valuable. Focusing on your patients while going through the expansion process, however, is not an easy task. There are numerous things to consider when expanding, but there are a few that will make planning and execution smoother in the end.
Expanding Your Medical Practice
Expansion doesn’t stop at just adding new staff or service. When adding a new doctor to an existing practice you need to consider your existing space (rooms, offices, restrooms) to make sure enough capacity is available to handle the increased patient load. Another consideration is the impact to your current technology bandwidth.
Expansion often requires new hires. While your staff is one of your greatest assets, they are also one of your biggest expenses. When considering new hires, it is important to evaluate your resources and decide if you can expand assignments or if technology can help. Take time to review and analyze your current IT capabilities and see if adding additional staff is necessary, and/or if new software can improve your customer service and efficiency.
Expanding your medical practice is an opportunity to expand the services you offer. This can be concierge services that create additional value for your patients or expanding hours of operation or adding niche services. Simple changes create added value to your business and for your patients. It can also have a tremendous impact on your bottom line.
4. Online Presence
Expanding your medical office will mean getting more brand recognition and clientele. The internet is an invaluable tool to create a website, manage social and content marketing services, and purchase SEO services to ensure your site ranks in the best possible positions. Make sure your site is informative, intuitive, easy to navigate, and also provides potential patients with a means of communication.
5. Go Digital
Innovative medical professionals value and understand that most patients use the internet to research services and medical concerns. They are also savvy about how their patients use smart phones and tablets. Stay updated and connected with your patients and community with a touch of a screen. Go digital. Create a personalized portal to provide patients with sensitive information about lab results and prescriptions. Allow patients to book appointments straight from the app or website for more convenience.
There are numerous ways to expand your practice with the use of digital services. Before you decide which strategy to implement, assess your competitors and their strategies.
If time is of essence, you could outsource the work to trained professionals. Consultants and third party professionals can focus on the technical side of the business as you continue to work on the operative side.
6. Move Your Practice
Expanding your practice may require relocation. Not only is it time consuming, it is can be very stressful. Your time is money and efficiency is key. You’ll want to employ extra professionals to manage the increase in work. It is vital that you relocate within your timeline and schedule, select trusted advisers and consultants, plan IT relocation carefully, and map out your budget wisely.
As you plan to move, consider the location, demographic, cost and competition in the market. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages, and consider the necessity and the viable alternatives.
Putting it All Together
Every business, small or large, wants to operate in the most cost-effective manner, even during an expansion. It is an exciting prospect; however, the actual expansion can be very stressful. In fact, most people involved in the process will experience high stress levels, sleepless nights, and blame if anything goes wrong. To minimize delays and errors, it is essential to understand the best practices and how to expand your practice efficiently and smoothly.