Hospital Improves Patient Safety While Cutting Costs

The Nebraska Medical Center’s new video surveillance solution allows hospital staff to remotely monitor individuals who are on suicide watch, prone to violent outbursts or in critical states of health. Previously, hospital personnel were required to be physically present in the room to watch the at-risk patients.

With nearly 5,000 employees and 1,000 physicians, the Nebraska Medical Center is the largest healthcare facility in Nebraska. The hospital hosts 624 beds and numerous departments that cover pediatrics to oncology to bio-containment. The staff is responsible for patients of all types, including some at-risk persons who need around-the-clock monitoring.

Until recently, when a patient required 24/7 observation, the hospital placed a staff member in the room. This was standard practice for patients who, for example, were on suicide watch, prone to violent outbursts or in a critical state of health. It is typical for the medical center to have two or three dozen patients being watched in a one-on-one scenario on a given day. This put a strain on staffing costs.

The Nebraska Medical Center was looking for an opportunity to improve safety for patients while also reducing its overhead costs. In the spring of 2011, Maureen Goltl, an operations manager at the Nebraska Medical Center, was asked to investigate video monitoring as an option

“We have always had a population of patients who are confused and agitated; patients who we are not comfortable leaving alone in their rooms,” Goltl says. “Installing video monitoring cameras at almost every bedside was the best option and helped a great deal.”

Photo Gallery: Spotlight on the Nebraska Medical Center

Goltl organized a large planning team and by the fall — a mere eight months later — the system was deployed and operational.   

Cameras Must View Patients at Night
With the planning team weighing their options of possible vendors on this project, they decided to work with Sentrixx Security Solutions, a vendor with which the facility already had a longstanding relationship. Over the years, Sentrixx, a division of Control Services Inc., has provided building automation solutions, intercoms, Hugs Infant Protection and other electronic security devices to the hospital.

In 2009, Sentrixx installed 13 high-resolution Axis IP cameras in the Adult Intensive Care Unit at the Nebraska Medical Center. These cameras were controlled from a monitoring station running Milestone XProtect Enterprise video management software. They used this as a foundation for the new solution they wanted to deploy.

“We had a set of business requirements,” says Goltl. “We wanted fixed cameras. We did not want them to record. And we needed to be able to see a patient at night, in the dark.

Sentrixx provided a turnkey solution, handling all of the installation: Dell servers, the cameras and the monitoring stations running XProtect. “We ran every inch of wire,” says Phil Fenton, manager at Sentrixx Security. “They were able to trim a significant amount of overhead dollars. We wanted to make sure their installation deadline was met and that it provided a tested and working system.”

Each Hospital Unit Operates Separately
Sentrixx installed 299 IQinVision Megapixel indoor day/night vandal IP domed cameras. These provide full real-time video at 30fps with a 720p resolution. These are unobtrusive, vandal-resistant dome-style cameras that blend into the hospital’s aesthetic. Along with each camera, Sentrixx installed an infrared unit, which was placed separately because current IP cameras with built-in infrared capabilities did not offer the high-resolution capabilities required for this deployment. Sentrixx also installed 10 servers and 12 monitoring stations, many of which consisted of Dell all-in-one systems.<p>This is the Nebraska Medical Center’s bio containment unit.</p>

To house these stations, Sentrixx brought on Kiewit Construction to build cabinets that matched the existing environment. Joe Turecek of Kiewit Construction also acted as a project manager on the overall project.

The integrator created a closed network that allowed each hospital unit to operate separately. Each unit has a maximum of 42 cameras. Since each unit operates separately, there is no need for all the cameras to be available on a single server. Because of this, Fenton determined the Nebraska Medical Center only required XProtect Enterprise for this deployment, which the facility was already using in other areas. Had there been a need for all 299 cameras to be available to a single server, they would have chosen to deploy XProtect Corporate.

“They already had the XProtect Enterprise license and it was affordable to load it up on 10 servers,” Fenton says. The solutions was also chosen because it is easy to use and reliable.

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