Hospitals need to take the issue of security seriously considering the sensitive information and large volume of traffic they handle. The institutions must also comply with strict privacy standards such as the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act that came into effect in February 2009. The act provides more muscle to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HITECH implements new standards for the security of electronic health records and includes notification requirements for breaches of healthcare data.

Risk of Identity Theft

One of the most serious issues that hospitals face is identity theft. When a hard drive at a medical center in Kentucky was stolen, it led to the disappearance of the records of 5,418 patients. The details contained in the hard drive included full names, physical features, biological information and such sensitive data such as social security numbers.

That theft was not an isolated incident. Such incidents occur at a worrying rate.

Preventive Measures

One of the most effective measures against such incidents is the use of access control systems. These systems can help the hospitals identify who gets into a building or room, why they are there, how long they take and what they are authorized to access. The hospitals can also set up RFID tracking systems to provide real time monitoring.

The medical institutions can simplify their security systems by using ID card printers to produce their own badges and labels. Traditionally, hospitals use security systems handled by different departments. Unfortunately, these departments tend to have different policies and objectives. As a result, the medical staff are forced to remember multiple passwords and carry different access cards.

Such fragmented security systems are not only cumbersome for the staff but also expensive for the hospitals to maintain. They also make it more challenging to comply with privacy standards.

Access Cards

When hospitals have ID card printers, they can print their own smart cards, which may provide a more convenient access control system. They may use scalable systems that allow them to secure crucial areas first and then add others as the need arises. Among the first areas to consider include the IT departments, pharmacies, delivery areas, food service areas and storage areas.

With the access cards, the hospitals can set up different access points to enhance security. Access readers may also be installed on employee lockers and linen closets and used instead of keys. This provides better restriction and monitoring capabilities.

With effective security systems, hospitals can have proper balance between public access areas and restricted places. Access cards will help them identify who gets where and when while the employees won’t have to deal with multiple security measures. The hospitals can also print their own access cards using ID card printers.

Image by Fotos Gov/Ba and licensed through Creative Commons.

Steve Stoltz is a sales rep at, an online shop providing ID badges and visitor management solutions.