Boston Hospital Improves Clinician Security with Real-Time Location System


A large Boston-area hospital wanted to improve clinician safety with a duress system that would be easier for clinicians to use and provide critical real-time information to security staff. Nurses and other hospital staff sometimes find themselves in situations requiring a fast—and discreet—call for security. A call button system, with buttons hardwired into walls, has several drawbacks.

From the perspective of the clinician or staff member:

  • The button might not be in easy reach when the nurse needs to make the call.
  • Pushing the button is an easily visible and interpreted signal, which may further escalate a tense situation in the minutes before security arrives.
  • An agitated patient or family member may physically prevent the nurse from reaching the button.

From the perspective of security staff:

  • The call button does not identify the person who made the call.
  • The location of the incident can only be pinpointed to the nearest call button. If the parties in the incident move after security is called, there is no way to know their exact location in real time.


SIGNET deployed a Real-Time Location System (RTLS) to create a duress system that meets the needs of both clinicians and security staff. If a nurse or other staff member requires security backup, they can press a button on a radio-frequency identification (RFID) badge worn around their neck to send a wireless alert to the security team.

  • Healthcare staff members can wear the badge on the same lanyard they use for their regular ID badge, providing fast and discreet access to a security call button they carry with them everywhere.
  • The badge sends a wireless signal to an RFID reader, which relays the alert.
  • The RTLS-based duress system is fully integrated with their existing security alert software, so the alert shows up within the dashboard the security team is already familiar with.
  • Using a combination of RFID and infrared (IR) sensors, RTLS can pinpoint exactly where the nurse is located within the facility with a high degree of granular detail.
  • Because the badge carries a unique identifier for each staff member, security staff also know who called the alert, providing critical intelligence for responders before they arrive on the scene.

With the RTLS-based clinician duress system, clinicians feel safer and security staff can respond to incidents more quickly.


Posted on

February 5, 2021

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