Blog: Checking In

Blog: Checking In

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November 20, 2014
3 Easy Ways to Improve Guest Service

You can find your staff when they need help, assign guests a room number, conferences to meeting rooms… but when it comes to other resources, it can be easy to lose valuable time tracking them down.

It could be a last minute request for a podium or projector for a large business meeting, a specific piece of furniture for a certain VIP guest, or an alcohol cart that’s gone missing between Point A and Point B. One of the questions we got asked about recently at the IHMRS (International Hotel, Motel, Restaurant Show) in New York City was about locating assets in hotels or restaurants, as incidents of misplaced and lost assets are common.

So how do you continue to maintain a high level of guest service without wasting valuable time?

  1. Set expectations. Does your staff know what to do with items after a meeting or event? Clearing a room can be an automatic step, but do items consistently get stored in the same place so it’s easy to find in the future?
  2. Take ownership. Who manages the items? If multiple staff members are able to fulfill guest requests, is there a registry of who requested it, what room it was delivered to, and how long It was reserved for? Maintaining a schedule for your resources can help you identify potential shortage problems, juggle guest requests, and set guest expectations for how long they have an item.
  3. Track it. Even with the best procedures in place, items can get misplaced or moved. Guests might need to move an item on the fly, or several adjustments might be needed in a short period of time. Placing a tag on items can eliminate the guesswork on a tight timeframe. Look for a system that can provide you real time updates, and possibly integrate with other solutions for the best value.

You may not be able to get ahead of requests from your guests, but you can make it easier to respond quickly without strain on your staff or bottom-line.



March 11, 2014
Integrated Hospital Security, Part 3: Whose Responsibility Is It Anyway?

3 Tips for Deciding on Ownership

You’ve done the research, vetted the providers and made a selection. The purchase order has been released, all documentation is signed-off and installation is about to commence. So why do you have a sinking feeling that something is missing? It’s not buyer’s remorse; so what is it? Perhaps it’s because you haven’t established who actually “owns” the system soon to be installed in your facility.

Own, as defined by Merriam Webster, is “to have or hold as property” or “to have power or mastery over.” So, who “owns” your newly purchased security and safety system? The facility (the hospital) owns the physical property, but funding was acquired from the nursing department; infrastructure support was provided by facilities and information services; security staff, nursing staff and possibly biomedical engineering staff are the responders. How is internal ownership appointed? It’s imperative this be established sooner rather than later.

  1. Decide sooner than later
    I’ve talked about the need to establish the Sequence of Operation document and the importance of creating a step-by-step documented plan to meet project objectives. It’s equally important to establish the protocols of ownership and responsibilities. When selecting the product for your project, why not use that same time to select the responsible party(s) for internal support? Chances are all the same key decision-makers are already at the table.

  2. Establish direct responsibility
    I’m not referring to volunteering for ownership; I’m referring to direct responsibility. This is important and ideally should be established well before the start of the installation. Direct responsibility not only helps during installation and implementation, but it also provides assistance when visited by certifying agencies, such as the Joint Commission and CMS. Agencies may inquire about details of your system and having clear ownership means you know who can answer questions about the training, testing and operation of your system.

  3. Evaluate the provider
    When selecting a provider, you verified their products met your objectives. It’s just as important to know your provider not only understands your needs but can anticipate your next question. This is where strong customer-provider relationships help you focus on goals and achieve consistent and predictable outcomes. They need to have the experience to understand your environment, your concerns and to listen to you and your staff.

When I meet with customers and prospective customers, of course I want to jump right in and show them all the products we offer. But, after a brief greeting and a stern handshake, my ears are wide open to listen and help establish this thing we call “ownership” so you don’t ever feel like something is missing.

By Les Welton, Product Support Engineer, VTSP

January 22, 2014
Integrated Hospital Security, Part 2: Creating the Best Solution to Maximize Workflow

The Sequence of Operation

We purchase items for our homes, like a microwave or washing machine, to do specific jobs. But when it comes to infant safety and security, we must think of every possible outcome of the products, not just the specific purpose the product was designed for.

For example, a microwave’s purpose is straightforward - to warm, defrost, or cook food. By contrast, integrated security systems are complex.  What happens when your security department implements a deactivation device in visitor and/or patient elevators which is integrated with your infant security system? It serves the purpose to deactivate if an abductor tries to leave a secured floor with an infant.  Who responds?  How will someone know to respond? And how does the hospital know that everything is ok? How does this impact the clinical workflow?

This is why it’s important to create a step-by-step document called the Sequence of Operation that walks everyone through the actions of the physical security components during normal conditions, alarm activity and back to normal operations.  This document is the responsibility of the customer with collaborations from security professionals and security product vendors.  The Sequence of Operation helps you understand  the steps necessary to “marry” your security systems together with a predictable outcome.

Without a documented plan, a project won’t meet its objectives and may even become unsafe. Each party involved has its own set of responsibilities, but everyone supports each other.

Establishing a Sequence of Operation:

  • Helps all parties meet their objectives
  • Sets clear goals for the provider so you get the solution you’re looking for, from accurate costs, to drawings, to training plans
  • Brings critical discussions to the forefront

A Sequence of Operation helps keep the project moving along, saves time and can save money.

First, establish the what, where and how elements:

  • What are the existing components, like access control, CCTV, infant security and elevator systems?
  • Where are these systems located in relation to the proposed infant security system?
  • How will these systems integrate and where?

Second, write the document for stakeholders: nursing, security, facilities, information technologies, and biomedical engineering. Even third parties like the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), state and federal approval agencies like Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) or the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) may be included.

All great projects start with a well-thought plan. The key is to ensure your provider describes and documents the actions and interactions of all of your potential integrated systems.

Looking for more info on integrated security solutions? Read part one of my blog series – how to ensure staff satisfaction while creating an integrated infant security solution. 


By Les Welton, Product Support Engineer

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