Video Surveillance & Physical Security Industry Viewpoints
February 11th, 2022
Author: Lizzi Goldmeier

How Video Surveillance Footage is Used to Improve Patient Care and Safety

Driving public health and safety at hospitals 

When thinking of ways to improve health and safety at a hospital or healthcare facility, video surveillance might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, video analytics software is a crucial tool in safeguarding patients and staff. Whether it be an external threat or optimizing care, surveillance data can and should be used to assist hospitals in their strategic planning to increase operational intelligence and drive efficiencies with public health and safety in mind.

From ambulance bays, emergency departments and patient care floors to cafes and parking areas, video surveillance analytics software can assist management in making critical decisions that lead to increased care and safety.

Optimizing traffic to improve patient care

On the surface, optimizing pedestrian and vehicle traffic and utilizing space effectively in a hospital might not seem related to public health and safety, but it could make a difference in how quickly patients receive care. Understanding how visitors interact with the facility is key to improving its layout, signage, placement of informational kiosks and displays. Video analytics software aggregates video surveillance data captured over time so administrators can see the big picture when it comes to navigational patterns, as well as where, when, and how much time pedestrians spend in particular areas. Footfall reporting provides accurate data regarding peak traffic times and problem hotspots, as well as unique, bounce and return visits to specific areas of the facility. For example, footfall navigational data can determine the paths patients take to different departments throughout the hospital, and how long it takes them to get there. Are they taking the most efficient route? Are they getting lost and arriving for their appointment or procedure late? Could changing directional signage improve their experience? Video surveillance software data could shed light on these questions.

Similarly, video surveillance software can be used to track traffic vehicle movement around the hospital’s campus. This could be particularly helpful in examining traffic flow around the hospital and optimizing so that visitors can be dropped off or park and enter the facility efficiently. Additionally, dwell-time reports and real-time alerting can help notify staff when there are back-ups in the ambulance bay. Aggregating this data over time can lead to improvements in ambulance bay layout or protocols, ultimately enhancing patient care.

Driving health & safety by deriving operational intelligence

Demographic intelligence, behavioral heatmaps, and data visualizations can help hospital administrators make strategic decisions that impact patients, visitors, and staff alike. Historic heatmaps combined with rule-based, real-time alerting enables both long- and short-term situational awareness, assessment and response, whether to developing situations, such as crowds forming in the ER waiting room, or space utilization inefficiencies that are identified for that department. In real-time, staff can prioritize patient care and proactively divert ambulances to neighboring hospitals, if needed, by being alerted to crowd formations. At the same time, heatmap data can be used to optimize waiting room layout to maximize social distancing; and historical, aggregated video surveillance data can help teams proactively prepare for peak traffic and staff accordingly.

Not only can real-time video surveillance alerting enhance the patient experience, it can lead to the mitigation of threats. Alerts can be set to trigger a notification when a person has been dwelling in unauthorized areas for unexpected amounts of time, thereby helping staff take action against bad actors and external threats to the hospital.

Lastly, forensic search capabilities enable administrators to investigate an incident in a timely manner to understand what happened, pinpoint people of interest, clear false claims and even reduce potential litigation. Perhaps there was a slip and fall claim; forensic review of video data can determine whether it was a legitimate accident. Furthermore, review of the incident could lead to increased safety protocols to reduce future incidents.

Maintaining facilities

Maintaining clean facility is of the utmost importance in a hospital. Utilizing a video surveillance software system is one way to improve efficiency and create a cleaner environment by planning maintenance schedules based on actual facility usage, rather than traditional time-based schedules. Video surveillance software aggregates data into heatmaps and dashboard reports to show usage patterns and volumes, and can trigger real-time, rule-based alerts to notify maintenance managers when a customized threshold of visitors has been reached.

The same set of features could be applied to the hospital cafeteria to identify peak traffic and down times. This information helps managers to staff and order accurately.

As hospitals and healthcare workers find themselves working harder than ever to respond to mounting demand for emergency care, optimizing patient, visitor and staff safety and comfort is critical. By leveraging existing surveillance networks to enable intelligent, timely decision making, hospital managers can support these audiences and proactively meet their needs, delivering the highest quality of patient care and employee services.