The health care industry is one that crosses all borders, big and small, all over the world. What remains the same for all applications is the need to balance security measures so that they are visible enough for patients and visitors to feel safe, but invisible enough for the environment to remain welcoming.
The health care industry is one that crosses all borders, big and small, all over the world. What remains the same for all the security applications for this field is the need to balance security measures so that they are visible enough for patients and visitors to feel safe, but invisible enough for the environment to remain welcoming. “Patients and visitors must feel welcomed and comfortable, yet safe and well protected,” said Sheila Loy, Director of Healthcare Solutions for Identity and Access Management in North America for HID Global
The scope of these systems, however, can vary drastically from place to place. From a security standpoint, much like the availability of health care, the level of security used in health care facilities across the globe also varies immensely.
Growth Drivers by Region
What drives health care growth differs by region — this also goes for security growth. “The market for electronic health care security continues to grow in markets around the world, with different areas of concern in different region,” said Steve Elder, Senior Marketing Manager of Stanley Healthcare.
Growth drivers in developed countries with advanced health care facilities might be more related to upgrades and retrofits, whereas regions where health care is less advanced might see newer installs and different requirements.
Health Care in the U.S.
As the only developed nation without universal health care, the U.S. health care system has been undergoing major changes since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act in 2014. Chad Parris, President of Security Risk Management Consultants, explained, “In an effort to survive the continued rising costs and lower Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, no pays, and the Affordable Care Act, the trend is for health care organizations to merge with other like systems or to be swallowed up by larger regional health care systems.”
In terms of regulations, health care facilities are required to meet certain standards. Loy said that a demanding regulatory environment shaped by numerous elements including legislation like HIPAA, which established US standards for privacy and security, impacts hospital access control policies and procedures in the U.S.
“For instance, in California, hospitals must report any security breach event, after which the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) checks policies, practices and audit trails, and executes inspections and assesses fines,” she explained. “Often, hospital administrators must also follow federal guidelines established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that, at times, conflict with state rules and result in fines. Other entities that set security guidelines include the Joint Commission accreditation and certification body, which has oversight for physical building security, water, safety, fire and other security processes, and the Det Norske Veritas (DNV), an independent foundation that works with health care authorities and providers to manage risk and improve health care delivery.”
Growing Demand in Asia
While growth drivers in places like the U.S., the U.K. and other parts of Europe tend to fall into the retrofit and upgrading category, growth in Asia has more to do with growing populations, new buildings, and even medical tourism.
According to a report by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, many of the economies in South East Asia are struggling with a relatively underdeveloped public health care system. However, the report also notes that the region has an active medical tourism industry; this is due to its balance of “quality and advanced medical care/technology and relatively affordable cost compared to the rest of the developed nations.”
What this means for security is more security spending in places with an influx of people seeking medical treatment. One example is Malaysia. John Davies, MD of TDSi, said his company sees growing demand in Malaysia due to medical tourism. The report by Deloitte points out that Indonesian residents travel to neighboring countries like Singapore and Malaysia to seek medical treatment, comprising of nearly 1.5 million of their medical tourism numbers with a corresponding outflow of $1.4 billion yearly.