NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Anyone walking into a Sentara hospital will be greeted by a new policy.

A new badge system is going in all Sentara hospitals, as well as all free standing emergency departments and the Sentara College in Chesapeake.

Samantha Kern, director of patient care services at Sentara, says it’s part of a broader effort aimed at reducing medical workplace violence.

“A system like this it helps us to ensure us that the individuals that are in our building are truly here to see a patient, and have a good reason to be within our facilities, and it helps us to deter individuals who don’t have a purpose here.”

The check in process is like some medical procedures, quick and painless. 

“When you arrive to the hospital you provide your photo ID, registration is then able to scan it into the system, and select the individual that you are here to see,” Kern said. “If you’re here to see a patient. If you are here to see a department, let’s say the cafeteria, it can also give you a badge for that.”

Even though the hospital requires a photo ID, a new photo will be taken for the visit.

“If you’re like me, the photo on your badge or ID is 10-15 years old, so we do make sure to take a photo to have the most up to date picture.”

Kern says that having a photo and name easily visible has proven to deter any acts of violence, and can help authorities track someone down after a potential crime.

“If someone comes in and we have already collected their ID, we were for example to see if there was a small crime or a theft or something like that, we are able to track on out video cameras and track that back to the potential individual.”

Health care workers are five times more likely to experience workplace violence than employees in other industries, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, mostly due to patients. However there have also been acts of violence by external sources, including high profile incidents such as a former patient who shot and killed his surgeon and three others earlier this year in Tulsa. There have also been targeted harassment campaigns against places such as the Boston Children’s Hospital over the hospital’s care for transgender minors.

“It’s really important to us to ensure that we are keeping our team safe, implementing something simple such as collecting a badge and a photo when in our building, has been shown to reduce violence in hospitals,” Kern said.