5 Biggest Challenges in Healthcare Security in 2023

5 Biggest Challenges in Healthcare Security in 2023


Security in Healthcare has many challenges. The pandemic has certainly changed some things for us security professionals, but there’s something else that has been changing things at an even more dramatic rate. That being technology.

These challenges largely encompass the complexity of healthcare stakeholders, personnel authentication, data, and the balance between convenience, privacy, and security.

As technology continues to advance and more devices are connected to the internet, security professionals will need to adopt new solutions and implement new strategies for protecting data, physical spaces, and most importantly the people who reside within them.

The Considerations of Complexity

Healthcare security is such an important topic in the security world for several reasons. Critical infrastructure such as hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies house incredibly important assets for our society. Healthcare facilities house our doctors, their patients, medication, expensive life-saving equipment, as well as highly sensitive information and medical records.

Not only is healthcare security very important but it is also incredibly complex.

Physical spaces within hospitals have sensitive information that needs protection as well as physical equipment that is not only very expensive but could also save a life.

Sensitive information could be stored on computers or written down on paper which could compromise patient privacy; additionally, there is also valuable equipment that could be stolen or vandalized if left unattended at an unsecured location.

Complexity of security is also heightened by the nature of healthcare operations and the movement of people. This requires careful planning when designing your physical security plan as well as ongoing care during the implementation and maintenance.

Stakeholder diversity is also a huge reason why healthcare security is so complex. Segmenting facility access with different user groups can be a huge challenge for security managers.

With most sectors, you only must provide access to customers, employees, and contractors. In healthcare, however, you must consider doctors, pharmacists, nurses, patients, guards, receptionists, and visitors – only to name a few. These additional stakeholders require more careful planning of facility access and as technology evolves, security plans must change as well.

Top Challenges

  1. Access Control

There has been a lot of advancement in the world of IoT technology and security over the last decade. Security professionals have a lot more to consider when putting together a facility plan. And when it comes to healthcare, access is one of the most important components.

Gone are the days of single-factor authentication for highly secure areas. Hospitals and other critical infrastructure need to be diligent in their authentication of key personnel however, it also needs to be convenient. While key cards have and will continue to exist, they do represent security vulnerabilities for several reasons.

Finding a balance between convenience, security, and privacy can be challenging in the world of biometrics, but we believe utilizing protocols that use multi-factor credentials can be the solution. Additionally, the Pandemic has also spurred the innovation of better touchless products which are also an important consideration. We think this will pave the way for touchless digital and biometric credentials.

Multi-factor credentials will help resolve these challenges by providing a highly secure credential with single-factor digital credentials and two-factor facial authentication. Facial authentication eliminates concerns over privacy as users’ facial biometric information will not be analyzed or stored unless initially prompted by a digital credential. Meaning, that a user must consent before having their biometrics engaged. And from a convenience standpoint, this enables incredibly fast transactions as the credential is only validating a user’s identity (meaning a 1:1 match), rather than scanning a large database to figure out who each user is which takes more time to process.

Moreover, gone are the days of readers that don’t tell you anything about the general health of your facility. We believe security personnel need more accurate and comprehensive facility access data for better decision-making and more robust security audits. This transition won’t happen overnight, but the security world has already started moving in that direction. Technology will continue to improve to where we can assess the heartbeat of any facility and hopefully prevent security incidents as they occur, not just retroactively.

  1. Surveillance

Surveillance systems are an important part of physical security in the healthcare sector. These systems can help to monitor the facility and identify potential security threats. This is especially important in a healthcare setting, where the safety and security of patients and staff are of the utmost importance.

There are a variety of different types of surveillance systems that can be used in healthcare facilities, including security cameras, alarm systems, and access control systems. These systems can be used to monitor entrances, exits, and other areas of the facility to ensure that only authorized individuals have access.

In addition to helping to identify potential security threats, surveillance systems can also be used to track the movements of patients and staff within the facility. This can be especially useful in a healthcare setting, where the movement of patients and staff is carefully controlled to ensure the safety and security of everyone involved.

Overall, surveillance systems are an essential part of physical security in the healthcare sector. By monitoring the facility and identifying potential security threats, these systems can help to keep patients, staff, and facilities safe and secure.

Some of the top surveillance manufacturers you may wish to consider include:

  • Uniview
  • Honeywell
  • Axis Communications
  • Digital Watchdog

  1. Emergency Preparedness

No matter how carefully you create your security plan, there is always the risk that something unexpected will happen. Emergencies can range from simple disruptions in service to an actual threat to human life. To be prepared for either situation, it's important to have an emergency preparedness plan in place and make sure it is regularly tested so that there are no surprises when a real crisis occurs.

One of the most important parts of any emergency response procedure is testing it before an actual incident occurs so that employees know what they need to do during a crisis situation. If you haven't already done this, now would be a good time: bring together all relevant parties (IT staff and others who may be responsible for managing network infrastructure) and run through each step of your response plan with them so that everyone knows where they stand if something goes wrong at work or at home during non-working hours (e.g., weekends).

If possible, try running through these scenarios without actually implementing them on live systems so they don't disrupt regular operations unnecessarily; however, this isn't always possible due to either lack of resources or because some events require immediate action even at cost risk stability service delivery capability elsewhere within the organization

  1. Training

Training is an essential part of physical security in the healthcare sector. Staff should be trained on how to identify and respond to potential security threats in order to ensure the safety and security of patients, staff, and facilities. This can include training on how to use emergency call systems and how to evacuate the facility in case of an emergency.

One of the key aspects of training is teaching staff how to identify potential security threats. This may include training on how to recognize unusual behavior or suspicious activity, as well as how to respond to specific types of threats, such as active shooters or bomb threats. Staff should also be trained on how to use emergency call systems, such as panic buttons or alarms, in order to alert security personnel or other authorities in the event of a security breach.

In addition to training staff on how to identify and respond to potential security threats, it is also important to have emergency response plans in place in case of an emergency. These plans should outline the steps that should be taken to protect patients, staff, and facilities in the event of a security breach or other emergency. This may include procedures for evacuating the facility or securing sensitive areas.

Overall, training is a critical component of physical security in the healthcare sector. By ensuring that staff are properly trained on how to identify and respond to potential security threats, healthcare facilities can help to keep patients, staff, and facilities safe and secure.

Some of the top healthcare security consultants include:

  • MedSecurity
  • The Security Consulting Group
  • Healthcare Security Consulting Group

  1. Physical Barriers and Perimeter Protection

Physical barriers are an important part of physical security in the healthcare sector. These barriers, such as walls, fences, and gates, can help to prevent unauthorized access to the facility and sensitive areas within it. This is especially important in a healthcare setting, where the safety and security of patients and staff are of the utmost importance.

Physical barriers can be used to create a perimeter around the facility, helping to keep unauthorized individuals out. They can also be used to secure sensitive areas within the facility, such as laboratories or pharmaceutical storage areas.

In addition to preventing unauthorized access, physical barriers can also help to deter potential security threats. For example, a high fence or wall may make it more difficult for an individual to enter the facility illegally, deterring them from attempting to do so.

Overall, physical barriers are an essential part of physical security in the healthcare sector. By preventing unauthorized access and deterring potential security threats, these barriers can help to keep patients, staff, and facilities safe and secure.


No matter how small or large the application, these are all things that should be considered when designing a security plan for any healthcare facility. Manufacturers such as ourselves at Active Witness, shouldn’t only consider access as something to protect physical access points at a facility. In healthcare, there are plenty of critical areas that can be protected, such as drug lockers in pharmacies. There are plenty of other examples of smaller applications that house incredibly important assets such as equipment, or medical records.

The healthcare industry is struggling with an issue that we all wish didn’t exist: the need for more intelligent security, that is reliable and can streamline operations. This doesn’t just mean putting up cameras or hiring more guards; it means looking at every aspect of how stakeholders, equipment, medicine, and information are protected in the modern age. Unfortunately, the adoption of new technologies can be slow, but hopefully, over time we will be able to implement great solutions that can both streamline operations and protect our critical infrastructure.

Interested in learning how Active Witness benefits Healthcare Security?

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