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As Workplace Violence in Health Care Settings Rises Nationally, all Bassett Employees Will Receive Personal Alert Buttons that Summon Nearby Colleagues and Security Teams to More Quickly De-Escalate Workplace Incidents
Cooperstown (June 8, 2021) – Bassett Healthcare Network, which serves nearly 6,000 square miles in eight Central New York counties, will deploy new safety technology across its five hospitals, nursing homes, primary care health centers, specialty care offices, dental offices and other facilities. In doing so, Bassett will be the first health system in the nation to implement a Bluetooth-based duress alerting system to every employee to get them help faster, when they need it, wherever they’re working.
Workplace violence has been on the rise in U.S. health care settings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health care workers are four times more likely to be verbally or physically abused than workers in private industry, according to The Joint Commission’s Sentinel Event Alert on the issue. The health care standards and accreditation organization also said that the problem is likely far bigger than statistics indicate, because incidents are “grossly underreported.” This year, Congress took on the issue with the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, which passed the House of Representatives in April.
“We consider all of our employees caregivers, and we’re implementing this to help our caregivers be more secure in the workplace,” said Tommy Ibrahim, MD, MHA, Bassett Healthcare Network President and CEO.
“We are planning to make several investments in our people, and can’t think of a better place to start than advancing caregiver physical and psychological safety. If they’re confronted with a hostile situation, they’ll be able to act quickly – and help will arrive quickly.”
The Strongline Staff Safety System includes a wearable alert button that acts as a beacon that identifies the location of any individual who triggers the alarm and simultaneously summons nearby coworkers and security personnel for help. All employees, including nurses, physicians, allied health workers as well as support and administrative staff will receive their own badge.
Strongline is currently in use by frontline, patient-facing employees at several leading health systems around the country.
“When a patient codes, there has long been technology that instantly alerts clinicians to come to the aid of the patient,” said Paul Uhrig, chief legal officer at Bassett Healthcare Network. “The same principle should be applied for workers in duress to summon colleagues for help. We believe Strongline is the right technology to accomplish this.”
Designed in partnership with nurses and security staff at Jefferson Health in Philadelphia, Strongline badges have small buttons that staff can discreetly press so as to not escalate a confrontation. Information, including the name of the staff member and their precise real-time location, is then delivered to security and nearby staff. Together, these technologies enable more rapid assistance than standard wall-mounted or computer-based alarms.
“Early intervention is the key to de-escalating confrontations, so local alerting at the first signs of conflict is essential,” said Justin Green, Strongline CEO, who added that Bassett’s decision to protect all employees – not just nurses – with Strongline badges at every hospital and ambulatory facility sets the standard for the rest of health care.
“We built our technology based on input and guidance from those who are most affected by issues of staff safety: Frontline health care workers, security experts, and IT innovators from leading hospitals and health systems nationwide.”
About Bassett Healthcare Network
Bassett Healthcare Network is an integrated health system that provides care and services to people living in a 5,600 square mile region in upstate New York. The organization includes five corporately affiliated hospitals, more than two dozen community-based health centers, more than 20 school-based health centers, two skilled nursing facilities and other health partners in related fields. Bassett employs more than 5,200 caregivers. Follow Bassett on Facebook at Facebook.com/Bassett.Network.
Strongline is a rapidly expanding technology company that creates safer work environments for those who choose patient care as their profession. With violence against health care professionals on the rise, Strongline has developed a cutting edge, Bluetooth-based, wearable panic button that serves as a powerful de-escalation tool, allowing staff to instantly summon help to their specific location.