Public View Monitors (PVM) have a built-in camera and display captured images of visitors. PVMs are typically suspended from the ceiling or mounted on walls at customer entrances and in lobbies. They have been used for years in the retail industry and have proven to be a deterrent to criminal activity.
PVMs can help set the tone for the organizational security posture when customers enter a facility and see themselves displayed on the monitor. The use of PVM has also been expanded to be placed in areas with high value targets for theft such as razors, infant formula, laundry detergent, cigarettes, high-end clothing, jewelry and teeth whitening strips. These PVMs send a message to would-be thieves that they are being watched and their footage is being recorded for future prosecution if necessary.
PVMs have also been used in healthcare facilities. Entrances to hospitals, main lobbies and emergency departments are perfect places to deploy PVMs to monitor visitors.
Unfortunately, healthcare organizations experience more incidents of workplace violence than any other industry. Healthcare workers are five times more likely to be victims of a serious assault than all other industries. Seventy percent of serious assaults that occur in the workplace occur in the healthcare sector. Capturing images of those entering the establishment can aid in the identification and prosecution of those who assault others or commit any other criminal act.
In the field of health, we also have several high value-added targets within our establishments. We have retail pharmacies that distribute drugs to the public. We have infants and children who could be the target of abduction or parental kidnapping. We have radiation sources that could be used by terrorists to create a “dirty bomb”. We have medical and surgical supplies and instruments that have great value on the black market.
We have essential supplies such as personal protective equipment (gloves, respirators and gowns), vaccines and vaccination cards, which have been the targets of thefts in many health establishments. We have incredibly sophisticated and expensive technology that is used to diagnose, treat and monitor our patients.
We also have very sensitive personal and financial information that can be used by criminals to commit identity theft. Records that contain a patient’s social security number or mother’s maiden name have a higher value on the black market than credit card information.
Due to these very sensitive areas and high value targets, as well as the fact that other non-employees such as consultants, contractors and vendors must sometimes enter these areas, I think we will continue to see the use of PVMs expand to other locations within the health facility, including: loading docks, entrances to maternal and child health areas, server rooms and data centers data, pharmacies, locations that house radioactive sources, and rooms used to store clinical equipment and essential supplies.
PVMs have proven their value in the retail industry and will continue to demonstrate their value in the healthcare industry.
Paul M. SarneseMSE, MAS, CHPA, CAPM, is Assistant Vice President of Safety, Security and Emergency Preparedness for Virtua Health serving southern New Jersey. He is also the outgoing president of the International Association for Safety and Security in Health Care (IAHSS). Sarnese holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Rowan University, a master’s degree in security engineering from Warren University, and a master’s degree in administrative science from Farleigh Dickinson University.