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7 Reasons to Implement AI Video Analytics
in Healthcare Facilities

7 Reasons to Implement AI Video Analytics in Healthcare Facilities

Providing a safe and secure environment for patients, staff and visitors is a fundamental responsibility of healthcare organizations. It’s a difficult task which has become even more challenging in the past few years. Hospitals have continued experiencing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, they have faced increased levels of violence. The latest surveys by IAHSS reported a 47% growth in hospital violent crimes, which includes murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults. Thefts in hospitals are also on the rise. Therefore, together with a wide range of security measures, advanced AI-powered solutions are leveraged to create an additional layer of security and provide better protection for assets and people. Let us now see why implementing AI-powered video analytics is a worthy investment for healthcare facilities.

1. Reduce workplace violence

Protecting healthcare personnel is the first in the list of security challenges that AI-powered surveillance system helps to address. Violence against staff is quite common in healthcare facilities, especially in hospitals and long-term care facilities. According to National Nurses United (NNU), in 2021, 81% of responders admitted experiencing violence either in the form of verbal threats or physical assaults.

Nurses are vulnerable to the anger and violence of patients who often get agitated in a medical setting if they are unwell. Sometimes they even have to call a coworker or security to help them out. Apart from injuries, nurses typically have emotional distress which can make them leave the job.

AI technology offers a solution. Cameras equipped with intelligent video analytics can detect violent behavior, fights and other types of aggression, alerting hospital security in real-time so that they can respond quickly. This helps to reduce violence in healthcare facilities, ensuring that the incident will not go unnoticed.

2. Improve patient safety

Along with delivering medical assistance, healthcare organizations have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for their patients. There are many risk factors that medical facilities have to eliminate to ensure patient safety throughout the entire period of stay in the hospital. They should provide and maintain proper hygiene, airflow, heating, and also mitigate risks of patient injuries in healthcare facilities.

Slip and falls are a major safety concern. Such incidents are quite common for hospitals and have serious consequences, especially in frail older residents. According to AHRQ, of the 1.6 million residents in U.S. nursing facilities, approximately 50 % fall annually. One in every 10 residents has a serious related injury, such as a hip fracture (about 65,000 patients each year). Besides, injuries resulting from falls often lead to liability claims, and cost medical organizations a lot of money.

AI-powered video analytics can help address this issue. This technology can prevent patient falls by giving personnel real-time notification of a potential issues, for example, as soon as a supervised patient is trying to leave their bed. This allows caregivers to respond prior to a fall and help a patient receive immediate attention. It will also reduce fall occurrences if video analytics detect spills when they occur, enabling staff to take immediate action.

Unattended wheelchairs, beds or trolleys can pose a danger to patients and visitors as they can block the way and cause them to fall. Detecting wheelchairs and other objects left in the corridors or entry gates can prevent such situations.

Not all fall accidents can be prevented. If they do occur, it’s crucial to respond timely and provide proper help to avoid serious consequences. That is what smart slip and fall detection software can help with. Patients can be sure that if a slip and fall accident occurs, the system will alert hospital staff so that they can provide immediate assistance as needed.

Similar technology can be utilized for suicide prevention. According to National Patient Safety Goals, healthcare facilities are tasked to take measures to reduce the risk for suicide. AI technology can assist them to accomplish it, namely by recognizing behavior that can lead to suicide and alerting the personal of a potential danger.

3. Missing patient search

People with mental illnesses require particular attention. It is important that they be kept safely under the care of their physicians and other caregivers and prevent their elopement from mental health units. Elderly people who suffer from memory loss or confusion also need to be constantly monitored. If they accidentally leave the care center, AI-powered face recognition system can be utilized to locate lost patients quickly, minimizing the risk for them to get harmed. Person search can be implemented either in real-time or forensically.

Healthcare facility

4. Secure hospital premises

Gun violence puts healthcare workers and everyone else who is seeking care at that hospital at tremendous risk. So, it is critical to use advanced technology to help identify and track active shooter violence as soon as possible. With AI-powered gun and intrusion detection solutions integrated into hospital security cameras, guards have the opportunity to see the situation in real time. An AI vision system monitors the facility and sends an alert on any signs of intrusion within seconds. Thus, security gains understanding of when and where an event occurred and can take the necessary action to save lives. The response may involve directing people away from an active shooter or using access control solutions to deny entry to areas with patients, as well as helping to direct responders to stop the shooter and help victims. What’s more, the gunman can be traced across the connected cameras in real-time even when the weapon has been hidden.

AI vision for fire detection at healthcare facilities deserves a particular mentioning. Hospitals are susceptible to fires due to using electrical equipment, medical gases, and flammable liquids. Fires are critical events that cause serious damage to the hospital structure, jeopardize the provision of care services and often result in high casualties. Typically, fires lead to the complete evacuation of patients and staff. It is a complex process which takes time and is associated with lots of difficulties especially when it comes to transferring patients with impaired mobility.

Implementing AI video analytics, hospitals can ensure a timely and more effective response in emergency evacuation during fire. Due to smart software integrated with hospital cameras, fire is identified as soon as the first signs of it appear, which allows taking measures to prevent fire from spreading and starting evacuation quicker.

5. Prevent thefts

The theft of medical equipment, supplies and medication is a serious problem in healthcare facilities. It costs American hospitals millions of dollars every year. It also has a serious impact on patient care as puts their lives at risk when the necessary lifesaving equipment is missing or when dangerous narcotics are diverted.

AI video analytics can be used to keep a track of the locations with expensive equipment or pharmacies which are also vulnerable to thefts. The system monitors such areas 24/7 and triggers an alert if anybody enters the restricted area. Leveraging AI-powered access control can also be helpful, given the fact that most thefts are attributed to doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. It ensures that only designated staff will get access into critical areas.

Video analytics can also utilize AI abnormal behavior detection systems to spot suspicious activity in a healthcare facility which may look similar to a shoplifting event to draw the attention of security and initiate an adequate response.

6. Improve hospital efficiency

AI video analytics can also be vital to improve overall hospital efficiency and enhance patient satisfaction. By providing information about foot traffic, healthcare organizations can improve facility layout, better plan walkways and lobbies to reduce chokepoints and optimize traffic flows.

Analysing video data in real-time, the smart system automatically sends an alert when an increased number of visitors is identified so that hospital managers can tackle the situation. Based on heatmaps and historical data gathered over a period of time, hospital managers can predict how many people to expect, for example, in an emergency room during certain weeks or months and make more informed staffing decisions. This helps avoid overcrowding which could cause inconvenience to patients, delays in the provision of medical help and increases the risk of infection spreading.

Heatmaps can be also helpful to manage parking lots more effectively. Equipped with the information about the number of ambulances, cars and people arriving at the hospital during certain times of the day, week, or month, healthcare organizations can optimize parking operations.

In addition, video analytics assist in monitoring bed occupancy in different wards of a hospital or care home. It can count empty beds and send alerts if their number is decreasing to a critical point.

7. Implement comprehensive pandemic protective measures

In times of pandemics, healthcare settings are more likely to have high rates of infection in their environments, which means that their employees, non-infected patients, and visitors are at a much greater risk of exposure. Therefore, healthcare facilities need an effective tool to help implement the required protective measures and maintain safety. AI video analytics can accomplish this task. It effectively runs non-contact thermal screening, monitors social distancing, enables emergency contact tracing and real-time people counting. It can also detect whether individuals are wearing masks or not.

Final Takeaway

For healthcare facilities, safety and security remain top of mind. Therefore, new security solutions are implemented to help them meet many of their security challenges and mitigate risks to patients and healthcare workers. Hospitals equipped with AI-powered video analytics bolster their security measures, enhance patient and personnel safety and even optimize their operational efficiency. AI-powered cameras and video surveillance help healthcare organizations become more proactive. With real-time information and smart analytics, they can better understand the hazards at their facilities and respond to them as early as possible.

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