Hospitals are increasingly investing in video technology to keep their patients safer. Basic surveillance cameras have been a part of the essential hospital infrastructure for decades now, but healthcare facilities are going a step further with more advanced systems.
For example, there's the VALT video observation platform, which is designed to help health care organizations remotely monitor specific patients, keeping them safe and improving response times in event of an incident.
With this system, hospitals can install and observe cameras in any number of rooms, with several benefits, including:
- HD video and high-quality audio. Old forms of surveillance technology have historically been unable to capture fine details, but modern monitoring systems offer both HD video and high-quality audio. This allows observers to see and hear almost everything that goes on in a given room.
- User management rights and audit logs. Hospitals need to think about security and compliance. The VALT system features complex user management rights and audit logs, so no one can tamper with the feed, and only the right people have access to stored videos.
- Encryption and secure storage. As an added security measure, archived videos and video feeds are encrypted, preventing would-be cybercriminals from gaining access to this content.
- Centralized management. An unlimited number of cameras can be added to a single system, so they can all be managed from a single location.
- Grid views. Depending on the hospital's needs, camera feeds can be arranged for single-feed viewing, or arranged in a grid (like 2x2 or 3x3) so observers can keep an eye on multiple rooms simultaneously.
- Remote management. Video cameras are equipped with features that allow them to be remotely controlled; for example, they can be panned from left to right, tilted up and down, and zoomed in and out with PLZ controls.
- Dialogue. These systems are also equipped with speakers (in addition to their microphones), enabling remote observers to converse with the patients they're watching.
Observing High-Risk Patients
The most notable benefit of this system is remotely monitoring and engaging with high-risk patients. High-risk patients are so categorized based on factors like:
- Falls. Some people are vulnerable to falls, or have fallen in the past. If they begin to stir, or if they get up and try moving around on their own, someone can step in and either help them or convince them to rest.
- Wandering. Wandering is a common symptom of dementia, with 60 percent of dementia patients wandering, oftentimes disoriented. Wandering can be dangerous both to the patient and to the people around them, but this behavior can be spotted proactively with the right monitoring system in place.
- Impulsive behaviors. Patients who commit impulsive or restless behaviors need observation to make sure they remain in good health and under control.
- Unpredictability. Some patients may be unpredictable, either because they're suffering from a mental illness that prevents them from responding to situations appropriately (like dementia) or because they don't want to be at the hospital. Monitoring helps hospital staff members keep a close eye on them.
- Pulling at lines or tubes. If someone is intubated or attached to machinery, they may be tempted to pull at their lines or tubes — either consciously or unconsciously. Monitoring can prevent this from happening, or stop it in progress before it gets any worse.
Why is there such a surge in interest for video surveillance of patients in hospitals?
Three major factors are converging:
- Better tech. Video surveillance systems haven't always had all the features that hospitals need to remain both compliant with regulations and in control of situations. Now, cameras are offering full HD video and high-quality audio, as well as remote controls so they can be pivoted and zoomed at will. In short, video tech has gotten more sophisticated, and more hospitals are interested in incorporating it accordingly.
- Inexpensiveness. The technology has also gotten cheaper over the years. Today, it's much more cost-efficient to install a video camera than it was 20 years ago — and the full suite of technology is practically a steal.
- Increased awareness of benefits. Hospitals are also becoming aware of the massive benefits of installing a video monitoring system like this. First and foremost, these systems have the power to prevent patient injuries and improve patient outcomes by stopping destructive behaviors. But beyond that, having a consistent monitoring feed helps them prevent lawsuits and take accountability for their own actions — and having a long audit trail helps them remain compliant with regulations.
Remote monitoring technology is coming to a hospital near you, if it isn't already there. If you or a loved one are ever hospitalized, you can rest comfortably knowing remote monitoring tech can help hospital staff preserve your health and safety.
Larry Alton is a professional blogger, writer, and researcher. A graduate of Iowa State University, he's now a full-time freelance writer and business consultant.Currently, Larry writes for Entrepreneur.com, Inc.com, and Forbes.com, among others. In addition to journalism, technical writing and in-depth research, he's also active in his community and spends weekends volunteering with a local non-profit literacy organization and rock climbing. Follow him on Twitter (@LarryAlton3), at LinkedIn.com/in/larryalton, and on his website, LarryAlton.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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