In a small room at Greenwich Hospital, Dieter Meadows, a certified nursing assistant, monitors cameras in 14 patient rooms. All 14 of the patients are at a high risk for falling, and Meadows’s job is to watch for any signs that they are trying to get up without assistance. If she sees any activity likely to cause injury, she asks the patient to remain still via the intercom, and then summons help to the room.

Monitoring programs like this one are becoming more common at hospitals around the country—for good reason. Hospital accident rates are going down. During its first year, the Greenwich Hospital program was able to prevent all but one fall.  “We were so thrilled with the outcome,” said Sue Brown, Greenwich Hospital’s senior vice president for patient services. “That’s what our goal should be, safety first.” When Stamford Hospital instituted a similar program, the hospital saw a 20% reduction in falls.
Improving Operational Efficiency
A survey of more than 250 professionalsfrom a variety of industries revealed that 68% wanted to “use their video surveillance systems for operations improvement as well as security in the future.” Survey participants were looking to use their cameras to help improve sales and customer service, manage employee productivity, analyze customer behavior and meet compliance standards.
Many healthcare facilities have already installed video surveillance systems that are invaluable as security tools. But hospitals, like other organizations, are discovering that the natural next step is to use this extensive network of cameras to gain other benefits like helping prevent patient accidents and monitoring employee performance.
Big Brother or Patient Safety?
Some say monitoring programs are like Big Brother meets The Joint Commission. But is this new use of security cameras really a surprise? In other industries, video auditing is used to track compliance and safety, so why not healthcare?
In an article for Outpatient Surgery magazine, Dr. John Di Capua cites anecdotal evidence that demonstrates the success of surveillance. A hospital in New York installed cameras to monitor hand washing behavior in the ICU. Before employees knew the cameras were in place, hand washing rates were less than 10%. Once staff were aware they were being monitored, compliance rates soared to almost 90%. Another hospital used surveillance cameras to check on OR cleaning processes with even more dramatic results. Before monitoring, hospital employees never perfectly completed the 10-item cleaning check list. After staff knew the cameras were in place, compliance rates were close to 100%!
Unlike other workplaces, hospitals and clinics face the unique challenge of providing safety and security to their patients, while creating an open and caring environment. By utilizing their existing security camera network and with the strategic placement of additional cameras, healthcare facilities can reduce accidents such as falls and bring employees in line with health standards. As a result, healthcare facilities can improve patient care and enhance the patient experience.
And we can help. At IntelliCentrics, safety is in our DNA. We’re part of an international security corporation that manufactures and develops state-of-the-art technology, such as cameras, sensors and security software. We can help your facility customize the right surveillance system for security, safety and compliance. Contact us for more information on our end-to-end security solutions.

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