Breaking down silos of authority within health care facilities has been a long-standing industry goal. And, while such initiatives often are valued for delivering improved efficiencies, there also are patient, staff and visitor safety benefits to be achieved from fostering greater cooperation between operational departments.

This is especially true for the health facility security function, where a new generation of advanced electronic devices and systems has dictated a level of interdepartmental cooperation that goes far beyond the traditional goal of enlisting hospital employees to be the "eyes and ears" of the security effort.

Conducted by Health Facilities Management in cooperation with the American Society for Healthcare Engineering and sponsor Tyco Integrated Security, our 2012 Hospital Security Survey looks at the complex relationship between the hospital security, facilities and information technology (IT) departments as they design, install and operate effective security infrastructures to meet today's challenges.

While IT and other operational departments can often disagree on what constitutes an integrated security effort, and such initiatives can greatly vary from facility to facility, our survey found the general trend is overwhelmingly toward more cooperation between the IT and other departments involved in security. This, of course, does not exclude the human side of security, where staffing is expected to rise a bit further in the coming year, and training employees outside of the security department to assist with events and document their experiences remains a top priority.

Indeed, our survey finds that a fully functional hospital security effort is truly a team effort and nowhere is it more important to break down those old silos than in protecting hospitals and their occupants.