It is not surprising most hospitals have a zero tolerance crime policy. Doctors, nurses and administration staff in hospital and healthcare environments regularly find themselves subject to verbal abuse and physical intimidation. These confrontations, which are often fuelled by the very reason why the patients are in hospital in the first place, i.e. drink and drug abuse, regularly lead to violent assaults on hospital staff.
It is unrealistic to be able to expect the police to respond in time to every reported incident and so it is very good news that the latest generation of video surveillance solutions from Hanwha Techwin are equipped with innovative features are able to help hospital security personnel keep one step ahead of troublemakers, as well as thieves and vandals.
The list of features offering real-life practical benefits to hospitals include:
Digital Auto Tracking: 4K (12 megapixel) cameras are able to capture ‘need to be seen to be believed’ quality images. Some models, such as the those from the Wisenet P range, also feature Digital Auto Tracking which, during times of low activity such as at night time, can be used to detect moving objects or people. This makes it much easier for hospital security personnel and control room operators to keep a close eye on activity in unattended areas and car parks.
Analytics: A powerful open platform DSP chipset at the heart of Wisenet X series means a diverse range of edge-based specialist analytics applications can be run on the cameras. An audio analysis function can, for example, recognise critical sounds, such as gunshots, explosions, screams, and broken glass, and then immediately raises an alarm to enable hospital staff to react quickly and effectively to any incident.
WDR: Most cameras feature WDR which composes 2 frames with different exposures to ensure clear, sharp images can be captured in locations where there may be strong contrasting lighting conditions. The latest 150dB WDR built into many Wisenet cameras uses 4 frames to create a more natural image and offers sharp images without any blurring, which is a critical weakness of standard WDR. It’s an exciting innovation for cameras which need perhaps to be deployed in areas of a hospital where they may be exposed to varying degrees of sunlight.
360-degree cameras are increasingly being specified for projects where there is a requirement to monitor activity 24/7 in environments such hospital A&E departments. A single Wisent P PNF-9010R 12 megapixel 360 degree camera is quite often all that is required to efficiently and cost-effectively cover a whole area where a much larger number of standard cameras might normally be required. A 360 degree camera will complement a video solution perfectly by giving the operator a complete view of an area whilst high definition static or pan/tilt cameras can be deployed to zoom in to see close up detail of any incident and to ensure there are no blind spots.
Hallway View is a feature which provides a highly effective way to monitor narrow vertical areas such as hospital corridors. It enables cameras which generate images in the 9:16 x 3:4 aspect ratio, to work effectively in tall and narrow spaces, with the added bonus of minimising bandwidth and video storage requirements.
Whilst providing a highly valuable tool to detect and deter criminal activity, a video surveillance system can also be used in a hospital environment for many other purposes such as finding a confused, elderly or mentally ill patient who may have wandered out of a ward, or to investigate a health & safety issue.
WiseStream complementary compression technology: The latest generation of Full HD and 4K cameras could become costly when a hospital needs to store the high resolution video for operational or evidence purposes. This is because multi-pixel, high definition images can all too quickly fill up the capacity of an NVR or server when recorded at full frame rate and resolution.
WiseStream complementary compression technology dynamically controls encoding, balancing quality and compression according to movement in the image. When this is combined with H.265 compression, bandwidth efficiency can be improved by up to 75% compared to current H.264 technology and thus ensuring that the cameras are bandwidth friendly camera ranges available. WiseStream II incorporated into Wisenet X series cameras increases bandwidth efficiency by up to 99%.
By reducing video storage requirements with the help of H.265 cameras which also incorporate, hospitals can minimise the capital investment and ongoing operational costs of recording and storage devices normally needed in order to take full advantage of the superb images captured by high definition cameras.
Video Management: It is important hospitals have the ability, with minimal training, to manage their video surveillance systems. This is why manufacturers such as Hanwha Techwin offer management software which maximises the efficiency and ease of use of their IP network cameras, recording devices and servers. Smart Security Manager (SSM) Enterprise from Hanwha Techwin also facilitates integration with third party systems such as intruder alarms, fire detection, Access Control and ANPR (vehicle number plate recognition), to offer a fully integrated security solution.
WiseNet cameras help create safe environment at mental health units
An excellent example of IP video surveillance technology being put to good use in a healthcare environment can be seen within the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust estate in the UK.
Creating a safe environment for patients, staff and visitors is a constant challenge throughout the British National Health Service (NHS) and particularly so within mental health facilities. With this in mind, 19 mental health units located throughout the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust estate have been equipped with IP network based video surveillance systems in order to unobtrusively monitor patient activity.
The Trust, which currently provides care for over 40,000 people with mental health problems, offers a range of specialist services that are dedicated to the care and recovery of anyone experiencing mental health or substance misuse issues. Although some of the mental health units are secure, the majority allow the free movement of patients. The Trust therefore, looked for help from the latest advances in video monitoring technology to alert nursing and support staff so they can react quickly and appropriately to any situation where there may be a problem.
“We are committed to the ‘Safewards’ initiative’, a key aim of which is to reduce the rates of conflict in in-patient mental health settings,” said Mark Milliard, Capital Projects Manager at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. “We believe that the use of smart technology, such as IP network based video monitoring systems, plays a large role in helping us achieve this objective.”
“The analogue systems that were installed a number of years ago became increasingly unreliable and we made the decision to upgrade them with IP network based systems,” explained Mark. “A key advantage of being able to transmit images over the network is that it provides the flexibility for any authorised user to view live or recorded video captured by any of the cameras from their PCs. We realised that this would provide us with much more flexibility in terms of how we monitor activity at the mental health units, compared to the analogue CCTV systems which could only transmit captured images to a central location.”
In compliance with the Trust’s obligation to achieve best value from its investment in new technology, Mark initiated a tender process in order to choose a supplier for the new cameras. The tender document specified which cameras should be installed throughout the 19 mental health units. Advances in video surveillance technology and the features incorporated into Hanwha Techwin Wisenet cameras meant Mark discovered that only three camera models were needed to provide coverage of areas both inside and outside all 19 mental health units.