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We write articles mainly about visitor management, which helps you to know who is (or has been) in your facility. It is just part of an organization’s physical security processes that protect people and property within and around a building or campus.

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How to safely allow visitors to your hospital in a COVID-exposed world (fourth of a seven-part series)

by Andrew Jones

How to choose the right visitor management system (VMS) for signing in and badging your visitors

How to safely allow visitors to your hospital in a COVID-exposed world (fourth of a seven-part series)
Choosing the right VMS requires asking the right questions.

A good visitor management system, or VMS, lets you sign in, identify, and track your visitors. This helps protect your patients and staff from outsiders.

Every hospital has different needs. So ask yourself the following questions to help you choose the right visitor management system for your hospital, as determined by its policies and procedures.

How much security should my VMS provide?

  • Does it take a driver’s license or other government issued I.D.?
    This verifies that visitors are who they say they are.
  • Does the badge show instantly …
    • If a visitor has signed in today?
      And not just reusing an old badge?
    • That a visitor is in the right place?
      More than ever, visitors must not be allowed to wander.
    • That a visitor has been screened?
      Is it your policy that no one gets a badge unless they have been screened?
  • Does it keep a record that can be easily referenced?
    How quickly can you determine if or when a visitor has been here before?
  • How reliable is your VMS?
    What happens if you lose power or internet access?
    Do you have a back-up system, like a visitor sign-in book with badges?

How much should my VMS cost?

  • Said another way, what is security worth to you?
  • To help you assess the value of badging your visitors, see the next two parts of this series: on Risks (page 7 of the complete Guide) and Benefits (page 8 of the complete Guide).

How easy is it to set up and to use?

  • Does your VMS integrate with electronic medical records or is it stand-alone (for simplicity and privacy)?
  • Does it require a lot of training for your staff or volunteers?
  • Can it be used by visitors to sign themselves in?
  • Does it require much data storage or is it cloud based?
  • Are updates included and easily implemented?

How quickly does my VMS process visitors?

  • Hospitals have always had to balance the convenience of their visitors with the health and safety of their patients and staff. Lately the balance has shifted more toward the latter.
  • Still, with tighter screening procedures, your visitor management system should not create longer lines in your lobby.
  • Speed as a priority for your VMS may depend on how many visitors you allow and how complex you make your screening process.

How does my visitor management system appear to the general public?

  • Do the badges literally “look good”?
  • More important, does the system convey the appearance of added security that will (a) improve visitor behavior and (b) give visitors the confidence they can enter your hospital safely?
  • Does the system ensure that visitors sign in each day?
  • Does it add to, or detract from, the patient experience and overall satisfaction?

(Next: Part Five — The risks of not managing your visitors properly. Download our complete guide to safely allowing visitors.)

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Posted on 7/22/2020


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