By Kevin Tart, Key Account Manager, Milestone Systems
The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight on the United States healthcare system, and it’s more apparent than ever that there is ample room for improvement. Thought leaders around the globe have called for a renewed focus on the patient experience to ensure that the best possible care is provided to those who need it most. As we cautiously emerge from the pandemic and start to reimagine our healthcare industry, some health centers have already modernized their operations in an attempt to be more patient-forward. It may seem daunting to re-frame an entire industry. Still, the truth is that there are incredible tools at our disposal that enable healthcare providers to transform healthcare. One of the most powerful tools in the market today is video technology, specifically video management software (VMS).
One hospital in particular, Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida, is taking advantage of today’s advanced video technologies to improve the patient experience. The hospital has 100 patient beds, as well as specialized services like radiology, cardiology, behavioral health clinics, and perinatal care. Nemours is protected by more than 1,800 networked video cameras placed throughout its campus. The security cameras are used to enhance risk mitigation strategies, lower operational costs, improve efficiencies and boost the patient experience.
A major benefit of video cameras is that hospitals are able to move away from the 1:1 sitter ratio, lowering operational costs. Cameras are equipped in patient rooms to help staff quickly respond to emergencies. Patient in-room cameras are not recorded, and an LED light indicates when the cameras are in active use. Using a centralized monitoring station, hospital staff can tap into the footage immediately after an alarm is triggered in a patient room, which could indicate a sudden change in heart rate, a patient falling out of bed, or any other critical change in a patient’s condition. This capability allows staff to quickly respond during emergency situations, potentially saving a patient’s life, while ensuring that hospitals are better prepared for risk mitigation.
Nemours is also using video technology within the cardiac unit by allowing cardiac intensivists to monitor patients around the clock. All the physiological monitors in the cardiac unit are encoded with information integrated into the VMS. If cardiologists are home or traveling, they can quickly check in on patients through their smartphones or mobile devices and look at all the physiological monitors within their unit, keeping all their patients top of mind. The video system has had a very positive impact and has helped reshape how Nemours is providing care to its cardiology patients.
A final illustrative example of the power of video technology can be seen in Nemours’ behavioral health clinic, which treats children with autism and other behavioral disorders, and coaches their parents. The hospital uses cameras during patient sessions in several different ways. First, the cameras allow parents to be “present” during the sessions without causing a distraction for their children. Second, parents can work with their children through a set of behavioral tasks in a more organic, private setting while clinicians observe from another room. Third, the patients themselves can review footage of their own behavior as they work with therapists on speech and communication skills, which has proven to be a game-changer for the unit’s autistic patients. Fourth, when parents are frustrated by their children’s lack of progress, having early footage to review and compare usually alleviates their concerns. Lastly, the hospital uses previous footage to help train new staff to work with patients with behavioral disorders. In leveraging technology like video cameras, Nemours’ behavioral health staff give parents heightened peace of mind and understanding of their children’s treatment while allowing patients to make faster progress on speech therapy and other reinforced behaviors.
At a national level, there is a great deal of potential for healthcare institutions to rethink their technology and make their environment feel less—in a word—clinical for their patients, whomever they are. Nemours Children’s Hospital is just one example of a medical institution successfully implementing video technology to enhance the patient experience while reaping the numerous benefits of heightened efficiency and communication. Broadly, we know that a better patient experience leads to healthier, happier patients, and video technology can help pave the way for a brighter future across our healthcare landscape.