Research Hub > Just-in-Time Video Surveillance for Healthcare

February 15, 2019

3 min

Just-in-Time Video Surveillance for Healthcare

Video content analytics give healthcare facilities powerful tools for maximizing security, productivity and the patient experience.


If you’re a healthcare provider, it’s hard to keep up with the Joneses — or the Smiths, Johnsons, Browns and Williamses. Those are the five most common U.S. surnames. So in a major city, odds are high that some among the millions of people will share the same surname, first name and even birthdate.

That’s a recipe for fraud and billing errors, which take time and money to resolve. It also increases the risk patients may receive the wrong treatment.

Some hospitals now use palm scanners to verify ID, but that has drawbacks. For example, some patients object to having their biometric information collected because they fear identity theft.

Can You Place That Face?

Video surveillance that uses facial recognition offers a more effective solution. For starters, the facial-recognition process is passive, so patients don’t have to do a thing — or even know it’s happening.

Take that guy wandering the halls, peeking into rooms. Is he looking for the coffee machine? Or is he an abusive spouse hunting down his wife? A dementia patient? A criminal looking to steal drugs? Video content analytics can provide the answer by looking for a match in databases of patients, fraudsters, staff and offenders. It then can automatically alert the appropriate staff members to address the situation, whether they may be nursing or security.

Most hospitals and other healthcare facilities already have extensive surveillance networks, so the foundation is there to layer on VCA software. Many malls and schools are doing the same thing, which highlights additional healthcare use cases.

For example, some schools scan license plates so they know when a noncustodial parent or registered sex offender is lurking in the parking lot. Hospitals can do the same thing, using VCA to identify vehicles and people known to be associated with gangs. This advance warning can help a hospital avoid a fight or even a shootout when a rival gang has members in the emergency room.

Besides enhancing security, VCA can improve efficiency, productivity and patient satisfaction. Examples include monitoring how long people wait to check in, or how long nurses wait in the pharmacy queue. Those insights identify where and when to add staff.

Right Place, Right Time, Right Partner

These capabilities come with some requirements, starting with the need to ensure the surveillance system has the right design. For example, some existing cameras might need to be repositioned or augmented to ensure the VCA has a direct view of each person’s face. Side profiles won’t do.

The network also needs to be engineered to handle increased video traffic. One option for addressing this issue is to implement multi-access edge computing to ensure that each facility has enough local computing resources so VCA can do its job quickly. How fast? Retailers use MEC-powered VCA to verify shoppers’ identities at checkout in as little as 0.03 seconds.

Privacy also is a critical consideration. When choosing a partner to design and implement a VCA system, you should make sure it has experience not only with IT security best practices, but also industry-specific regulations such as HIPAA. Hospital surveillance feeds and storage are increasingly attractive targets for cybercriminals, so healthcare organizations must ensure that these assets are protected.

To learn more about how the Internet of Things can revolutionize your organization, visit CDW’s Digital Transformation page.

This blog brought to you by: