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Massachusetts General Hospital Integrates Milestone VMS and Briefcam

Milestone Systems’ XProtect VMS platform integrates with BriefCam Syndex Pro to review and monitor over 1,000 security cameras at the hospital.

The following article originally ran in Campus Safety’s sister publication, Security Sales & Integration.

Massachusetts General Hospital has 1,300 security cameras recording around the clock and more than 1,000 investigations every year.

Predictably, MGH’s security officers had trouble sorting out and keeping up with all the resulting video footage. That was before MGH decided to integrate the Milestone XProtect video management software platform with BriefCam Syndex Pro, which enables rapid video review, search and analysis.

Mass. General Hospital’s Video Problem

The MGH Police, Security and Outside Services Department provides security services to many other hospitals and facilities affiliated with Partners Healthcare, a Boston-based nonprofit hospital and physicians network.

Following its recent digital conversion, unified on the Milestone XProtect VMS platform, MGH’s security team was able to expand camera coverage by adding new Axis network cameras directly to the existing IP camera network.

“The number of investigations we were doing was taking huge amounts of time in terms of reviewing video, and that was really a waste of time,” says Bonnie Michelman, MGH executive director of Police, Security and Outside Services and consultant for Partners Healthcare.

The hospital environment presents unique challenges to security, Michelman points out. MGH’s 17-acre urban campus, comprising 29 contiguous and 14 separate buildings (including underground and freestanding garage facilities), is complex.

The hospital security team must also take into account not only the main location, but also dozens of satellite facilities around the Boston area.

“We can’t cover all of these facilities with security staff,” says Michelman. “We need to augment heavily with very good, state-of- the-art technology that allows us to combine our intelligence, labor, policies and procedures, in order to create a better holistic approach to enterprise risk management.”

Charged with creating a safe environment, MGH’s security team at the same time is challenged by the clinical team’s needs for increased efficiency through lowering length of stay and moving patients through the hospital as quickly as possible.

RELATED: How IP Technology Can Streamline Multi-System Communications

The 24-hour emergency room, with its anxious, highly volatile population presents challenges of its own. In addition, patient elopement and patient wandering – unauthorized departures from the medical facility, whether intentional or unintentional – pose liability threats that can be very damaging to a hospital.

The Hospital’s Video Solution

A unified system was required to balance the video surveillance needs of a busy hospital campus with remote satellite locations while upholding the highest level of security possible, maintaining operational flow and providing customer satisfaction that includes expectations of privacy.

Michelman, together with MGH Senior Manager, Systems and Technology Robert Leahy, decided on the Milestone XProtect VMS platform. Camera count was increased from 400 to 1,300, and standardized with Axis network cameras connected directly to the IP network.

To deal with the marked increase in video data, MGH’s team chose BriefCam Syndex Pro, a set of tools intended to reduce the time and effort needed to conduct video reviews, post-event video investigation and real-time video monitoring.

The BriefCam solution ties in seamlessly with the Milestone video management solution, providing efficient workflow for investigators.

According to Michelman, BriefCam has already proven invaluable. A two-year-long ROI examination of video surveillance use at MGH has shown a progressive rise in success rates with the use of video in incident investigations.

“I see BriefCam as a very important part of our toolbox of excellent practices for protecting what is a very complex environment of tangible and intangible assets,” says Michelman.

BriefCam Syndex Pro’s ability to present video metadata in graphic visualization format, such as bar graphs, pie charts and the like, has opened up new realms of possibilities to extend the role of video surveillance beyond security into organizational efficiency and more informed, data-driven decision making.

“In the past, there might have been things that would have been a ‘nice to do,’ but we couldn’t do it because we didn’t have resources to watch many hours of video,” says Michelman. “Now we can manage the content and we can see trends, which in turn can drive redeployment of resources, and by extension, facilitate a better investigative focus and success.”

Note: This article originally ran in May 2017.

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