Patient Identification and Security Systems

November 1, 2010 | Healthcare Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance


Patient security devices alert staff when an infant has been taken from any monitored area or when a patient has wandered. They are designed for use in all types of healthcare facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes, and long-term care and assisted-living facilities. Monitoring patients allows more freedom for both patients and healthcare workers and lets patients feel more independent.

These devices are also called patient security systems, antiabduction systems, elopement prevention devices, antiwandering systems, infant abduction prevention systems, and infant tracking systems.

This Risk Analysis covers patient security devices used in healthcare facilities to prevent infant abduction or patient wandering and elopement. Mobile locating systems used by healthcare facilities to track tagged patients who have exited the main facility are also discussed.

Patient security systems that do not make use of signaling tags, those used in private homes, and those that involve bed, chair, or wheelchair monitors are all excluded from this report. Also excluded are invisible perimeter devices, remote or digital video monitoring (e.g., closed-circuit television CCTV systems), control software, security wire and fiberoptic cables, card access control systems, video badging systems, personal emergency signaling devices, and devices used to prevent infant switching. Systems using passive patient tracking via radio-frequency identification (RFID) without...

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