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How can an integrated healthcare infrastructure improve patient safety?

The statistics are staggering:

  • According the World Health Organization, 1 in 10 patients is harmed while receiving care in even the
    most advanced hospitals.
  • The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children states that between 1983 and 2010, 47% of US infant abductions occurred in hospitals.

No healthcare facility is immune to safety and security issues. And because of that, patient safety continues to be one of the top concerns of healthcare management today.

Preventable adverse events, or sentinel events, that result in the death or serious injury of a patient can cause heartbreak for the family of the victim, as well as potentially wreak havoc on the healthcare organization’s financial health and reputation due to litigation, negative media attention, and recovery costs.

Many preventable adverse events can be linked to faults within the healthcare infrastructure. Schneider Electric recently worked with researchers at the Boston University School of Health to identify key preventable adverse events that can be directly related to the performance of hospital facility systems, shown here.

Healthcare organizations need to have transparency into the facility’s infrastructure itself in order to guard against these preventable adverse events. Ultimately, the best defense against sentinel events is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Building, power, and security systems all have an important role in that prevention, and healthcare facility and security directors have an opportunity to greatly improve patient safety and security.

An integrated healthcare infrastructure can help to provide the transparency needed to resolve problems before they occur by providing a constant stream of real-time system data. And by sharing information, the systems form an intelligent infrastructure that can be configured to generate automatic responses to preset criteria. For instance, if a fire breaks out in a hospital, access control, facility management, fire safety, real-time location systems (RTLS), video surveillance, lighting, and HVAC systems will communicate and take designated actions, to help protect the lives of everyone inside.


Both power outages and infant abductions can have devastating effects on hospitals. Facility systems can be leveraged to help safeguard against these events and improve overall patient safety through:

  • Automated alarms for regular preventative system maintenance and automated emergency power supply tests to help prevent events related to faulty utility systems.
  • Integration of a healthcare facility’s building and security systems with RTLS and radio frequency identification (RFID) tracking systems to help guard against patient wandering, infant abduction, and hospital violence.

These are just a few examples of the many ways that an integrated healthcare infrastructure can help provide a welcoming, safe, and secure environment for patients, as well as staff, and visitors.

Accidents will happen, but they don’t have to. An integrated healthcare infrastructure can play a pivotal part in accident prevention.

How is your healthcare organization using facility systems to improve hospital safety and security? Share your comments below.

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