Today, security must extend down to medical devices such as dispensing carts and new portable diagnostic equipment. The conversion of medical records to an electronic format is making it easier to share and access data among the health care network. However, as advised by the Health Information Portability and Accounting Act (HIPAA) and EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), patient data must be kept secure and protected from data breaches, adding a level of security concerns for both equipment manufacturers and facility operators.
While this new technology was designed to help streamline work processes for medical personnel, it has also moved equipment out into areas that are more accessible to non-employees, such as the patient bedside and facility corridor. This means that supplies, drugs and other controlled substances may be more vulnerable to theft or human error.
Physical keys need to be carefully managed to ensure they are in the hands of authorized personnel only. These keys must be retrieved and reassigned when employees change shifts or are no longer employed by the institution. With some facilities reporting key loss as a major contributor to procedure disruption, failure to manage keys can create an unwelcome challenge. The use of physical keys also presents a risk to the spread of infection, with multiple staff sharing the same key.