Improving Healthcare Facility Security with OPENGATE® Weapons Detection System | 3Sixty Integrated

Healthcare organizations experience workplace violence more than any other industry. For example, healthcare workers are five times more likely to be victimized on the job than other workers overall, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  

The rise in violence comes from several factors, including an increase in drug addictions, patients with aggression issues, mental health, and more. In terms of physical security, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) highlighted specific engineering and security measures that hospitals can put in place to mitigate risks, including:  

  • Changing floor plans to make exits more accessible.
  • Improving lighting in remote areas or outdoor spaces for better visibility.
  • Controlling access to certain areas (e.g., ICU, ED, MRI) with locked doors.
  • Installing security technologies such as metal detectors, surveillance cameras, or panic buttons.

Security risks and workplace violence severely affect the entire healthcare facility security system and make it difficult for nurses, doctors, and other clinical staff to provide quality patient care.

Fortunately, healthcare facilities can implement effective security measures such as a weapons detection system to strengthen their security posture while maintaining a welcoming environment.

OPENGATE® – Weapon Detection System

CEIA OPENGATE® Weapons Detection System is a state-of-the-art wire-free, screening portal designed to improve the visitor and employee experience while continuing to protect critical spaces in a hospital including emergency rooms, MRI departments, and other mission-critical areas.

Unlike legacy metal detectors that bring additional challenges such as queuing, space, and staffing needs, OPENGATE® weapons detection solution enables hospitals to streamline screening procedures, improve visitor flow, and optimize both safety and experience for all visitors. 

OPENGATE® Weapons Detection System provides extremely high throughput with near-zero nuisance alarms and does not require patrons to remove personal objects or bags prior to entering the metal detector.

  • Cell phones, watches, coins, keys, and jewelry can remain on the guest. 
  • Time-saving technology speeds up the entry process, requiring less equipment and personnel.
  • The battery-operated OPENGATE® is water resistant, installs in less than three minutes, and is easy to relocate. 

The system is designed to be seamless for anyone coming into the hospital. Unlike other security systems like metal detectors, the system should help facilities avoid long lines at entrances and lets the security personnel analyze incoming guests in an instant.

Improve Healthcare Facility Security With a Proactive Approach to Weapons Screening

Healthcare weapons screening solutions must balance the need to protect patients, staff, visitors, and assets against providing a welcoming environment and ensuring rapid delivery of quality medical care.

OSHA research found workers in a healthcare setting are four times more likely to be victimized than those in the private sector, and this violence can range from someone using a fist to someone using a knife or gun. 

Statistics suggest the increase in hospital-based shootings mirrors the national trend. For example, in June of 2022 the Federal Bureau of Investigation recorded five healthcare facility (HCF) shootings and stabbings, resulting in death or significant injury.

By taking a proactive approach to security threats, healthcare facilities can minimize security risks to patients and staff. Critical to adopting this approach is a robust security program that focuses on preventing violence by detecting and eliminating the entry of dangerous weapons into the facility. This is accomplished by layering multiple tactics together, including staff security awareness, access control, and training.
CEIA’s OPENGATE® Weapons Detection Solution enables healthcare security leaders to address security concerns without comprising service by addressing three common challenges hospitals face when implementing legacy walk-through metal detectors.

healthcare facility security

Here are the some common healthcare facility environments where CEIA’s OPENGATE® technology can help streamline security.

1. Emergency Departments

Proactive technologies that keep weapons out of healthcare facilities and emergency rooms are essential parts of a layered approach. Still, it’s critical that facilities ensure their proactive strategy for reducing violence is tailored to their facility, staff, and location.

Since nearly 50% of emergency physicians say they’ve been assaulted, and 70% of emergency nurses report being hit or kicked on the job, implementing 24/7 weapons screening for your emergency department must be a top priority.

For emergency department leaders, the most significant drawback to using metal detectors is that it forces patients and visitors to wait in line. As a result, the queuing line must be staged so that clinical professionals from the reception desk, assessment area, or triage room can maintain visibility of everyone in line. 

CEIA’s OPENGATE® system is very intuitive and easy to use, with optical and acoustic signals located at the top of each two pillars for instantaneous status indications. Detections and signaling parameters can be managed and set through the OPENGATE® mobile app, available on iOS and Android.

2. Ambulance Bay

The rate of violence-related injuries with lost work days for EMS personnel is 22 times higher than the national average for all workers. With the uptick in violence, proactive hospitals are stationing security guards at ambulance entrances to “wand” patients as they arrive to detect for weapons. This presents several challenges, including additional staffing costs, wait times, and frustration. 

OPENGATE® is designed to operate in dynamic environments:

  • OPENGATE® is the first and only fully open, active walk-through detection system, composed of two free standing pillars.
  • Contrary to Metal Detector Gates, OPENGATE® does not require any mechanical or electrical connection between the two pillars that define the passageway.
  • Acoustic and optical signals, located at the top of the pillars, provide real-time status and alarm indications.

3. Security Sensitive Areas

In a hospital or healthcare environment, Security Sensitive Areas (SSA’s) refer to certain departments or areas of the facility that are more likely to suffer from security-related problems than others.

These “hot spots” are especially vulnerable for several reasons, including exposure to potentially malicious actions, patient populations, the presence of valuables or materials of interest, etc. 

Some Common SSA’s can include but are not limited to:

  •  Emergency Departments
  •  Labor and Delivery Units
  •  Behavioral Health and Detox Units
  •  Pharmacies
  •  Business Offices
  •  Other critical areas 

OPENGATE® portable, elegant, easy-to-position, and ready to use weapons detection system enables hospitals to adjust security measures in real-time. 

Keeping Hospital Staff and Patients Safe

Healthcare organizations can bolster safety and security with screening solutions that deliver high throughput, mobile, and effective detection while maintaining an aesthetically welcoming environment. 

OPENGATE®’s extreme portability allows fast relocation of the system, offering the most suitable solution for places where the checkpoint must be moved from obstructions after use. In addition, its structure makes it ideal for indoor and outdoor operations and all environmental conditions compatible with security screening operations.

At 3Sixty Integrated, we know that hospitals and other healthcare facilities can bear the undue burden of threats from workplace violence and security risks that can put their staff, visitors, and patients at risk. With over 20 years of experience, our team designs, installs, and maintains custom security solutions to keep your organization and assets safe and secure. Contact us today to see how 3Sixty Integrated can help your hospital or healthcare facility.