Analytics for Your Health

Intelligent video can streamline a hospital's surveillance efforts


Healthcare facilities have a growing responsibility to patients, employees and the community to provide a safe and secure environment. In addition to general perimeter security around main buildings, associated labs and parking structures, hospitals and other healthcare facilities are continuously exploring better ways to monitor patients. And hospitals, as well as research facilities and university laboratories, must protect hazardous waste and bio-chemical hazards that can be compromised if they fall into the wrong hands. Those same facilities also most protect against the theft of expensive diagnostic equipment, labware, pharmaceuticals and other high value material.

The result is a need for a more pervasive and effective video surveillance system to mitigate the risks and address the increasing liability and associated insurance costs impacting healthcare facilities.

To meet those needs, hospital facilities are investing more and more in surveillance equipment, making the healthcare industry one of the fastest growing markets for the deployment of security cameras and video management systems. According to a recent IMS Research market report, the healthcare industry is expected to generate an average 15-percent increase in CCTV and video surveillance equipment expenditures through 2010, which is higher than the projections for other heavy security equipment buyers such as retail (12.2 percent) and banking (10.7 percent).

The healthcare industry, like many other markets, is now looking to video analytics as the only effective means to deploy a constant-use, proactive solution. Intelligent video software provides detection, classification (human, vehicle, other), and tracking of objects within the field of view of a camera and compares object behavior against various rules modeled to identify various conditions.

Typical video analytics behaviors can be directly mapped to real applications considered by the healthcare industry. The best way to assess the applicability of video analytics to healthcare use is to look at a hospital/medical center security landscape from the macro (perimeter) to the micro (patient) level.

Perimeter Security

One of the more basic security monitoring functions for a hospital is basic perimeter security to identify access to grounds or buildings in a suspicious manner, or attempted access to buildings via various emergency, service and otherwise non-monitored access points. To establish a sound secure perimeter, adding more security personnel or physical barriers may be a costly and infeasible solution. Video analytics, however, provide a more cost effective and reliable solution. In the simplest implementation, this involves the creation of a “video tripwire” around the entire perimeter, or at various locations where hospital access must be monitored. The alerts from such a tripwire can be centrally monitored and used to provide real-time notifications to roving security forces of a potential threat, making that mobile force more effective, while not requiring constantly-manned video screens.

Video analytics can also look for potentially threatening behavior, such as loitering, around the exterior of a hospital or near monitored areas such as loading docks and hazardous waste collection containers.

Hospital Monitoring

Operations within the hospital represent significant challenges addressable by video analytics. Any secure area can be monitored for unauthorized access. Those same entry events can be used for one-to-one comparison to access control system entry events to spot illegal “tailgating” into controlled areas. Normal behavior such as people accessing hospital supplies or controlled pharmaceuticals can be recorded as “events of interest” to verify and monitor who is accessing these materials in case trends of abuse or unauthorized access require investigation.

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