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Develop a High-Tech Solution to a Problem
Concerns regarding infant abduction from hospitals have created a hot market for infant security systems. Several small high-tech equipment manufacturers are competing to sell high-tech systems to nervous hospital administrators.
While there are no exact figures on the market for infant security systems, the United States has about 35,000 birthing centers handling about 4.1 million births a year. About 1,000 hospitals are big enough to afford high-tech security systems, according to industry experts. They are willing to pay for tracking and alarm systems because one abducted baby can result in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit.
“The financial loss to a hospital could be in the realm of about $55 million,” said Bernard Shore, vice president of Dynaflow in Syosset, New York. That’s how much a sympathetic judge may think a newborn baby’s life is worth to the distraught parents, Shore said. Dynaflow began making electronic bracelets used to keep track of adult patients and entered the infant security market with a system that costs about $30,000. Shore said increased publicity about infant abduction and pressure from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations to increase hospital security has prompted many entrepreneurial companies to enter the market.
“Most of the feedback we get is peace of mind,” said Joseph Gulinello, director of Interfaith Hospital’s security and safety division. He said Dynaflow’s infant security system at the Brooklyn hospital generates very positive feedback from parents and medical personnel. “People say, ‘this institution obviously cares about us, and I can close my eyes and go to sleep and know that there is an integrated system that is going to help keep my baby safe.’”
Dynaflow systems are installed in about forty hospitals, mostly in the Northeast. Many hospitals are in high-crime areas where babies must be protected from drug-addicted mothers or fathers trying to take a baby out of the nursery where it’s being held by social workers.
Small electronic devices on bracelets attached to the baby’s ankle trigger an alarm signal if the baby is taken out of the authorized area. The system also disables elevators and exit doors to prevent escape.