The coronavirus continues to plague countries worldwide and hospitals seem to be struggling to provide proper care to their patients. Most hospitals around the world seem to have run out of material to protect their medical personnel. At this point, one thing the hospitals should not have to worry about is their surveillance. That is where a proper surveillance system can be very useful. IP technology is improving with each passing year. Now we have reached a point where we do not need to manually do anything for our security system to work properly. They can be configured in such a way that they send signals and alarms in case we need to do anything ourselves. More and more hospitals are using digital care solutions because it can free up resources in other areas. Technologies like thermal scanning cameras, video analytics, or even remote monitoring IoT sensors can help hospitals greatly to treat patients that might potentially be infected with the coronavirus.
Remote video monitoring
Open platform video management software (VMS) has become a crucial part of hospitals simply because of the virus as it allows the personnel to focus on other things in a hospital. The real time data observation that they provide have the capability to improve the safety of the hospitals a lot. Different types of IP video devices are being used to assist hospital staff so that they can monitor contagious patients. Why use a VMS? It provides the hospitals the opportunity to easily integrate new systems and machines into their pre-existing system.
Even before the coronavirus outbreak, Nemours Children’s hospital in Orlando, Florida, was deploying fixed network cameras in every patient room. They added an extra level of monitor beyond nurses and clinical that the staff claimed was incredibly helpful to them. The cameras have privacy LED indicators so that the patients are aware of when they are being used. When an alarm is triggered, paramedics can view the feed and they can immediately assist the patients via radio or via rapid response teams if they are required.
According to Healthcare IT News, it is quickly revamping how hospitals deal with patients in such scenarios. In this system, the hospitals are using a maximum of 3 people in the hallway team while the other members are remotely connected to the VMS. Nemours has conducted about 340 virtual rounding visits per week since they started initially using this new system. It has helped save a lot of personal protective system (PPE) and it has also reduced direct contact that is required with the patients. Let us remember that direct contact with the patient is a key issue when it comes to treating patients that might possibly have the coronavirus. With a system like this in place, not only do patients get extremely efficient care, it also keeps the medical practitioners safe. So, it is really beneficial for everyone involved.
Video analytics aided by machine learning
Video analytics software is used to analyze the video recordings that are usually stored in the storage device of a surveillance system. Analytics software analyze every frame of video and flag any potential issues as they occur. This allows the hospital staff to make better and more informed decisions. How does machine learning come into this you wonder? Machine learning allows the system to use algorithms to discover patterns and it can generate insights that might have been missed otherwise. Deep learning, which happens to be a more advanced sub field of machine learning, uses repetitive example based training to teach video analytics software how exactly patterns are to be identified. They can also classify the information based on preexisting criteria and then predict behavior based on that.
The video technology is so advanced that it can also notify the nurses if there is a patient who has not had their dressing changed or if a patient that is bound to their bed needs assistance. In fact, the machines are so smart that they can notify the staff if a patient falls from the bed because they can distinguish between the positional movement that a person has.
Telehealth and IoT devices
When a hospital uses VMS, patient data is usually linked to an online server. This allows physicians to give remote care. That is crucial in these times because it can reduce the risk of infection among healthcare staff. In Nemours’ cardiac unit, physiological monitoring information was displayed on the VMS which allowed cardiac doctors to monitor patients around the clock without needing to get to close to them.
Various hospitals and other healthcare providers are also trying to find ways to use medical grade sensors so that they can gather data and provide quality telemedicine to patients at longer distances. A Boston hospital has adapted the telehealth video system it uses so that officials can easily monitor coronavirus patients at home. The patients wear IoT sensors so that doctors can easily monito their oxygen level and heart rate remotely. Not only is this safe because doctors do not need to put themselves in harms way nut it also saves PPE supplies.
Using technology like this can give doctors access to real time data that they can analyze. Things like body temperature, respiratory rate, blood oxygen level, and heart rate previously had to be measured very close to a patient. But with technology like this, that is not a requirement anymore.
Hospitals are getting stretched very thin because of this crisis. So, now, more so than ever before, it is important that most hospitals adopt technologies like this so that they can maintain social distance and keep their staff and other patients as safe as possible.