Tags: Axon

EXCLUSIVE: Curing the epidemic of violence in healthcare

Healthcare workers

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Providing healthcare security teams with right tools can help to protect nurses and care workers, writes Axon.

Healthcare security

The healthcare industry is witnessing a dramatic rise in violence with incident rates for nurses and other care providers passing historic highs.

Hospitals and care environments have become the most dangerous places to work, with 76% of all documented Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) assaults occurring in healthcare settings.

Nurses are the most at risk, with 75% of active nurses reporting violent attacks annually. Incidents rates per 100 nurses have steadily increased since 2017 and are 393% higher than all other industries on average over the last five years.

Outside of the safety of these critical workers, violent hospital networks are witnessing higher cases of employee burnout, turnover and labor shortages among nurses.

On average, nurse turnover can cost healthcare networks $6.5 million annually – a huge cost directly associated to the safety and security of hospitals.

Recently, this epidemic of violence has captured the national and global news cycle, highlighting the unsafe working environments that nurses and care providers undergo daily.

Nurses have walked out across the US to demand better working conditions, often citing safety as the primary reason.

With healthcare safety at the forefront of the conversation, security teams in this industry have been tasked to mitigate the risk of violence and keep nurses and care providers safe. 

The right tech

Unfortunately, many healthcare security teams do not have the adequate technology and resources to perform their duties.

Often understaffed and undertrained, these teams are tasked with the nearly impossible responsibility of deterring incidents and de-escalating potentially violent events.

In order to stop and eventually eliminate the rise of violence against nurses and care providers, security teams will need to incorporate more technology to be successful. 

In 2020, due to increasing demand from customers in the healthcare industry, Axon created its Enterprise team to extend the company’s mission outside of public safety and to partner with the largest global healthcare networks to mitigate violence.

In 2022, Axon also launched the National Healthcare Security Initiative (NHSI) after nurses in Minnesota walked out their jobs due to safety reasons.

Through this initiative, Axon was able to provide $20 million in funding to offset the cost of deploying life-saving technology in security teams.

As the trend of violence continues to rise, Axon has committed another $20 million in funding for the 2023 NHSI.

This funding allows for healthcare security teams to receive either a complimentary body-worn camera or up to $500 in credit for TASER devices per officer when partnering on a Healthcare Security Bundle, as TASERs can provide officers with the confidence to de-escalate dangerous situations.

Studies have shown that people treat security officers with more respect when they know they are being recorded.

Additionally, staff gain confidence, particularly when body-worn cameras include features that aid their performance, such as enhanced low-light performance, reduced motion blur and handsfree activation and alerts.

The unifying of body-worn cameras and TASERs can also help in these situations. In some security ecosystems and with certain models, if a TASER is armed, arced or deployed it will automatically turn on nearby connected cameras to ensure the event is recorded and mark those activation moments on the actual video recording so they can easily be viewed later.

Deterring violence

Axon has a complete ecosystem of integrated technology featuring multiple security hardware options including body-worn cameras, TASERs, drones, in-car camera systems, VR and robotics that fully integrate into a digital evidence management system (DEMS) solution, Axon Evidence.

The full solution of connected technology allows for a simplified evidence management process and the capability of one-click sharing of evidence to law enforcement when incidents do occur.

This ecosystem has been proven to deter incidents and de-escalate potentially violent events when in healthcare settings per data collected from Axon’s current global deployments.

In one healthcare network in Florida, it was found that the deployment of Axon’s technology resulted in an 84% reduction in total lost days and an 89% reduction in medical claims paid after one year of successful implementation.

Furthermore, lost days dropped from near triple digits annually to zero for three consecutive quarters after deploying Axon technology.

In addition to the reduction of violence, lost days and negative employee sentiment of safety at work, this network calculated a projected 3.8x ROI based on the Axon deployment and has been scaled to include more security hardware technology for its teams.

Axon is committed to solving this public safety crisis with the mission to protect life. The company evolved to support all high-risk workers and emphasizes that this includes the hardworking healthcare teams.

This article was originally published in the September edition of Security Journal Americas. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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