Health and Oversight: How Video is Being Used in the Ongoing Healthcare Crisis

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the world, healthcare systems had to quickly react to increase patient capacity, while simultaneously trying to keep patients and staff safe. Healthcare customers must strategize how to use technology solutions in a way that meets this goal – and are looking for partners able to guide this process.

While so many businesses are returning to work amid the ongoing pandemic, healthcare facilities are still challenged by navigating the protection of people – their ultimate mission. With this, we are taking a moment to reflect on the lessons we’ve learned thus far about how video surveillance technology is helping during this crisis:

Relationships are key. In a crisis, partnerships become a critical part of response, allowing healthcare leaders to quickly set in motion a plan of action. As part of Pelco’s overall partnership approach, it’s important for us to listen and collaborate with our customers to focus on delivering the right solution to meet their unique needs. This open communication allows us to remain responsive and mobilize to protect and monitor newly converted areas of medical and storage facilities where there weren’t cameras, to serve patients and oversee valuable PPE, supplies, and medicine.

Limit staff/patient interaction with live monitoring. Setting up cameras to remotely monitor patients so staff can reduce exposure risks is one way that video can help serve a broader goal. Live monitoring allows nurses and other staff to use visual and audio indicators for breathing difficulties and other systems of the virus, as well as helps address staffing issues. Since there’s no recording of the video, facilities can meet HIPAA guidelines.

VMS is a force multiplier. VMS solutions provide valuable insights when guarding services may be limited. As guards are reassigned from less occupied facilities to critical care units, VMS can help fill the gap and provide the necessary oversight for security directors. An integrated VMS solution, like VideoXpert, provides a central platform so only one or a few security operators can monitor multiple facilities from one location. As traffic patterns change in areas that are being repurposed to hold patients or critical supplies, an integrated VMS can alert security staff if people are entering those newly restricted areas, and can also be used to alert whether crowds are gathering in hallways and violating social distancing policies.

As this crisis continues to unfold, Pelco remains committed to providing you and your team with any support you need. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have about your video surveillance technology or how we can help you during this time.

Going Beyond Patient Care: Where Healthcare and Surveillance Intersect

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the world, healthcare systems were forced to quickly react to increased patient capacity while simultaneously trying to keep patients and staff safe. Many resources were redirected as part of these efforts, prompting organizations to consider additional changes to their day-to-day operations, such as limiting visitors, screening shipments of supplies and finding ways to elevate patient care in the midst of shortages. But there are so many other areas that remain unaffected by pandemic response that must be considered on an ongoing basis — especially with the need to remain redundant in the face of challenges beyond a facility manager’s control.

Security leaders and facility managers are tasked with the delicate balance of stringent compliance and security with the open, healing atmosphere of a healthcare provider. And making sure a healthcare facility is up and running and functional at all times is a major part of this goal.

Arguably, this is accomplished through the use of innovative video surveillance technology as part of a layered approach that leverages analytics and deep learning capabilities in an effort to streamline response. Going further than that, the use of this kind of technology helps healthcare facilities remain proactive in their approach to the protection of people and assets by identifying anomalies in the day-to-day activities of staff and visitors.

As part of this effort, there are a number of integral areas that can benefit from a video data-rich approach as part of an overall security plan using video and analytics software, including:

Mechanical rooms. These spaces support the operation of the hospital in case of power failures, often including a high-powered generator (or multiple generators). These areas are typically sensitive areas and highly susceptible to sabotage; however, the high-priority nature of their functionality is critical to the overall operation of a medical center.

Water tanks. Within the healthcare world, water is an essential function in cleanliness — especially in light of infectious disease outbreaks. In the event of a water main break or natural disaster that cuts off the ability for facilities to access citywide water sources, some facilities have contingency water tanks that help bridge the gap when a main water source is eliminated. Like the previous point, it is critical for the proper operation of a hospital to have an interrupted flow of drinkable water and these vestibules should be protected from potential threats.

Medical gases. The storage of medical gases, such as nitrous oxide or oxygen, is a critical function and considered a very high-risk area in the operation of a hospital. Being able to properly identify anomalies in the storage of these gases or whether they’ve been tampered with in some way, as well as indicating the presence of unauthorized individuals in the area, should be deemed essential as part of a proactive security plan.

Medicine storage. All medicines within a healthcare facility must be properly secured and access limited to authorized individuals; however, medicine storage areas are places where thefts frequently occur by staff, patients and visitors, especially areas that control psychotropic medicines. Not only is layered and restricted access control essential, but adding video oversight and coverage to the mix ensures incidents can be properly identified and investigated.

Parking areas. So many times, the four walls of the hospital are considered of the utmost priority for security leaders, but there’s a number of reasons that incorporating the same level of protection within parking lots and in garages — along with the management and control of these areas — should be considered essential. In places where this service is available, it is crucial that visitors can be sure that their vehicles are safe while on the premises and that individuals traveling to and from their vehicles from the facility feel safe and secure with additional oversight.

Within the healthcare market, continuity of service is essential for the protection of not only assets, like those mentioned above, but ultimately, the people giving and receiving care. There are a number of ways that video, coupled with intelligent analytics, can help achieve this goal; and any manager of a healthcare center or hospital needs to be assured that their operation will continue even when subjected to stressful situations such as power or water outages.

These leaders also want to be sure that the risk of sabotage is under control, which means the critical — but lesser-known — areas are protected. Patient focus is clearly the first priority for these facilities, but this goes hand-in-hand with the continuous operation of the center and is a constant concern of administrators.

3 Pelco Solutions for Healthcare Environments

Healthcare facilities present one of the largest industries requiring comprehensive security solutions. Healthcare facilities, hospitals, in particular, are often large and see a significant amount of traffic, most of which are people completely unknown to the staff or other visitors. This makes the need for diligent hospital security a must, and a strong surveillance system is a vital asset in ensuring increased safety for healthcare staff and patients, as well as a reduction in theft.

In fact, the worldwide population of people over the age of 60 is expected to double by 2050, while at the same time, global access to healthcare continues to rise. Healthcare security decision-makers must adopt video surveillance solutions that can readily adapt to growing patient populations. At Pelco, it is our vision to see the world become a safer place and our mission is to provide the absolute best video surveillance and video management solutions to help make that vision a reality.

Because healthcare security is much needed for this vision to become a reality, we offer a number of solutions designed for healthcare environments to assist hospitals and other healthcare facilities maintain and enhance the Environment of Care standards. This keeps patients, visitors, and employees safe in relation to physical surroundings, work processes, and operational procedures. Video surveillance systems are an efficient, cost-effective solution for 24/7 coverage of physical surroundings, improving safety, and increasing operational efficiency.

Ensuring Patient and Staff Safety, Security, and Satisfactionmedicine

Security cameras in hospitals are an extremely powerful and useful ally in healthcare security. In hospitals, security teams are tasked with monitoring multiple areas such as waiting rooms, maternity wards, public spaces, and more. Each area adds a layer of complexity in terms of varied lighting conditions, levels of security and blind spots security personnel need to navigate. Hospital security is not an easy challenge for security operator, however, Pelco’s exceptional video surveillance options provide healthcare security operators the powerful tools required to lessen risks and increase response times. Plus, our revolutionary video management software makes any healthcare facility easy to use without sacrificing functionality or scope.

For high-risk patients who require continuous monitoring, for example, nurses and security personnel can take advantage of our High Security Corner Mount camera, which provides live video and two-way communication. This feature ensures safety and comfort in areas like Intensive Care Units. Through VideoXpert analytics partnering with the HSCM camera, it provides motion and sabotage detection and can automatically alert personnel when a patient falls or needs any other form of assistance.

Interiors spaces are far from the only areas requiring robust hospital security. Parking lots and surrounding areas also need surveillance systems to ensure higher levels of safety. VideoXpert Plates allows hospitals to keep an eye on arriving emergency vehicles and address overcrowding of visitor parking lots. Security operators can also utilize our ALPR (automatic license plate recognition) software to adeptly control the traffic flow in and around healthcare facilities.

Finally, security cameras in hospitals don’t have to be an eyesore or obvious feature of lobbies, waiting rooms, or other areas. Pelco’s mini-dome cameras and Special Modification Requests (SMR) program allows for custom video surveillance solutions that seamlessly blend into the aesthetic design of the property. This creates a discreet, yet secure, healthcare environment.

Mitigating Risks Through Enhanced Visibility and DetectionPatients

Healthcare facilities are primarily patient-centered areas, so accurate identification of persons of interest is of utmost importance for security operators. Simply sifting through the tops of heads is not enough for optimal hospital security. Our video surveillance solutions provide exceptional capabilities such as eye-level views and superior panoramic stitching. Our Evolution 180 fisheye camera provides sharp detail and expansive coverage for hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

Security managers gain access to the automatic tracking of people or objects of interest thanks to Pelco Camera Link, which combines the capabilities of our Optera camera (seamless panoramic coverage) with our Spectra Enhanced (30x optical zoom) for enhanced visibility and detection.

Lighting can also be a challenge when there is no more daylight in after-hours monitoring, or in areas where lighting is generally poor overall. These areas are at higher risk for undetected breaches or unwanted activity, especially if the security cameras in hospitals are equipped to handle low-light situations. Our Sarix Professional 3 cameras have an IR illuminator that can detect objects and people with detail in zero light, so you can rest assured knowing that even the darkest areas can be effectively secured.

Additionally, physicians’ offices, pharmacies, and laboratories also have unique security needs that require a versatile, scalable, and reliable surveillance system. Above all, providing a safe and comfortable experience for patients and staff is paramount for security teams.

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Lowering Costs While Increasing Operational Efficiencycosticon

While hospital security should be a top priority for any healthcare provider, so too are the financial and budgetary concerns of healthcare facilities. Pelco keeps this in mind, offering solutions that do not have to eat up a hospital’s budget.

Thanks to Pelco Smart Compression technology, and h.265, the most efficient video compression standard, security personnel experience detailed images that don’t strain storage budgets.

Our power surveillance systems and video management software provide security operators extreme power beyond basic security concerns, as well. Security personnel can use heatmap information to understand visitor and patient traffic within hospitals and other healthcare facilities, which is useful in optimizing patient flow and service-cycle times. This powerful data can provide valuable information for sharpening hospital’s strategies and best practices to optimize expenditures and stretch budgets further.

Pelco’s video surveillance solutions can also help directors of security ensure that staff in healthcare facilities are complying with protocols and processes, which can help lower the risk of liability issues. Additionally, VideoXpert analytics allow security personnel to focus on responding to potential breaches and incidents rather than monitoring each scene manually.

Our end-to-end solutions are also open and integrated, working with more than 100 integration partners so that our solutions work with a wide range of third-party platforms for an interoperable, open surveillance system that suits a healthcare facility’s specific needs. This includes solutions such as infant monitoring systems, nurse call systems, and more.

Contact Pelco Todaycontacticon

Pelco is an industry leader in healthcare security, with a wide selection of surveillance systems and video management solutions to fit any need. With us, you also receive the best in customer service, support, and training. It’s the foundation we’ve built our reputation for more than 25 years. Contact Pelco today to learn more about how we can help bolster your hospital security with the best security camera systems and video management solutions available.

Common Healthcare Security Challenges

If you’re tasked with maintaining security in a healthcare environment you may have a number of challenges that seem difficult to overcome.

Healthcare locations often have large open lobbies, with few choke points. Even a medical clinic can have multiple entrances, and few of the people entering the facility will be known to the tenants.

Lighting in the lobby can provide a challenge as well; there may be very bright spots, contrasted with very dark spots. This can happen if you have a glass lobby or bright spot lights in your entry ways. Given these difficulties, you may have given up on being able to get high resolution coverage of the full area. Perhaps you have settled for video with poor contrast, sub-par color reproduction, or video that appears washed out due to difficult lighting conditions.

Many security professionals also find that beyond the technical difficulties, there are numerous other significant priorities that can be overwhelming. These can include protecting sensitive data, maintaining security for doctors and patients, and – perhaps most challenging – safeguarding sensitive prescription medication.

If you are feeling these pressures, know that you are not alone. Healthcare has long experienced many of these challenges. The good news here is that there are a number of answers to help with your issues. Some solutions are technology based, while others are procedural.

It’s important to first remember that video is only one component of a security system. The system may also include Visitor Registration, Access Control and numerous others. While each of these can exist on their own, by integrating these systems you can build an overall security deployment that is more than a sum of its parts.

For instance, a security system with integrated Video Management, Access Control, and Visitor Management can help the security department become more proactive in protecting the premises. How might this be possible? Imagine an individual approaches the visitor desk and attempts to enter the facility. The Visitor Management system can identify that this person has been put on a local watch list for an earlier incident. Through an integration, this can automatically generate an alert to management and to the Access Control system, and turn a PTZ camera towards the location of the visitor desk to record the interaction with the perpetrator. If there is a security command center, they can take any needed actions or simply monitor the situation in case a law enforcement situation starts to unfold.

And there is still that issue of challenging lighting in the lobby. One technology that can help with this is wide dynamic range, or WDR. WDR allows a camera to capture video even in a mixture of very bright and very dark areas, while still maintaining color, detail and a good quality picture. Cameras with WDR would be ideal for a lobby environment; they would also be a good solution for a garage, where there will be a low light environment with the occasional glare of bright headlights.

These are just a few examples of the many solutions that can address problems in a healthcare security deployment. Would you like to learn more?  Register for The Security Professional’s Guide to Mid-Size Solutions webcast on August 9th, 8am and 7pm Pacific, to explore these solutions and many more. I’ll be presenting and taking your questions live.

Robert LaBella is a Business Development Manager with Pelco. He works developing relationships with Architects and Engineers. Earlier in his career Mr. LaBella was a Security Consultant and also worked for a Security Integration firm. Mr. LaBella can be reached at robert.labella@schneider-electric.com