Geary Community Hospital Documents Patient and Staff Flow with Milestone-Axis IP Video Surveillance Solution
"The cameras cover the flow of patients and employees in and out of every department in the hospital. We can see the OB, OR, ER, Lab and X-Rays, near the special clinics, cardiology, radiology, materials storage - everywhere! It's really nice to know we have the overview. But I use the system for more than just security. We can show how patients have been handled when they're brought in to the ambulance bay and we have a washing-down facility there for people who've had chemical accidents. If any of the staff have a shift question to resolve with supervisors, there's proof of their comings and goings by date and time!"
- John Williams, Environmental Services & Security Director, Geary Community Hospital
Challenges: This Midwest hospital has many exits and entrances that need to be monitored day and night. Their old analog security system required time consuming labor and gave poor quality images that were hard to find on tape. Plans for a new building required a solution that is easily expandable.
Solution: Milestone XProtect Enterprise IP video surveillance software manages 15 Axis network cameras (2100, 210 and 211 models), all running over a switched Cisco network. The solution is supported by ISG Technology, Inc.
Advantages: Patient handling, round-the-clock employee shifts, and the protection of hospital materials and equipment are now documented for fast and easy retrieval whenever any issues arise that need resolving. The images are clear and the system gives the ability to zoom in for greater detail. The software also provides the ability to export evidence for sharing with the police, insurance companies, ambulance or fire fighter services. Plans for future growth can be flexibly accommodated with the network approach by simply adding more IP cameras for the new facilities.
Geary Community Hospital in Junction City, Kansas, is a 92 bed facility with 430 staff including doctors, nurses, maintenance, and administration personnel. They handle 2,235 inpatients and 241,000 outpatient visits yearly.
Andrew Shimon, Network Administrator at Geary Community Hospital, relates: "After 9/11, the hospital management became more security conscious and asked us to take a good look at our coverage. They approved upgrading it to a network based technology."
ISG Technology, a certified Milestone partner, Axis Gold partner and Cisco Premier Partner, advised Geary Community Hospital to choose the market-leading Milestone XProtect Enterprise IP video surveillance software and Axis network cameras.
Major operational savings in time with IP approach
John Williams, Environmental Services & Security Director at Geary Community Hospital, remembers very well the previous analog camera setup the hospital had before upgrading to Milestone IP video surveillance software and Axis network cameras. The following incident illustrates just one of the benefits he reaps from the new solution:
"We had some people drive up to the Emergency Room at 5:17 one morning and literally drop off an unconscious guy, who had overdosed on drugs of some kind. Then they took off so as not to get involved. Finding the images in our surveillance of who dropped him off and in what car only took us 5 minutes! We knew what time he arrived and went right to that date and time in the Milestone system to see the evidence. We showed it to the police who could see right away in the clear images who the people involved were, and follow it up from there. They knew them from other criminal incidences in the area," reports Mr. Williams. "If we'd still had our old analog security system, it would have taken us two and a half hours searching through videotape to get that evidence."
Williams uses the Milestone XProtect option of opening a Hot Spot Window to see one of the camera views in a bigger size, checking closely to see who is coming and going from the hospital 24 hours a day. He can zoom in to an image to see more details, too.
Surveillance for situation control and aid to police
Williams also likes the fact that he can add free-text comments as notes to clarify an incident when he prints out evidence to share with the police or hospital managers.
"If the police need any images for use in court proceedings, we just export the necessary video for them," says Andrew. "They really appreciate the system as an aid in their work."
Williams describes 'Code Grey situations' when there could be someone with a gun or other problems like family coming in with critically injured or ill patients, clamoring in panic around the patient and pushing in to the facility, confused and panicked in their emotional distress over loved ones.
"We have to control these people, surround them and calm them down, get them away from the patient so our medical staff can do their job and take care of the one in most need. I can see these situations developing on the surveillance and call security staff to handle it quickly," he adds. "We're trained to handle these situations, but I sure like knowing the cameras are recording everything so I can concentrate on doing my job at the time, knowing I can go back in the system later to find anything and review it."
Handling more than just security matters
"I use the system for more than just security issues. We can show how patients have been handled when they're brought in to the ambulance bay, for example. We have a washing-down facility there, too, for people who've had chemical accidents," states Williams. "And if any of the hospital staff have a question about their shift times to resolve with their supervisors, I can just show them the surveillance of their comings and goings by date and time!"
Williams also uses the surveillance to manage his security officers more efficiently. He can see exactly when and where they are doing their rounds and see them check or lock certain doors or areas at night. He makes a point of ensuring these rounds are done at random times - never the same schedule every day that could make it easier for criminals planning break-ins and theft.
Total overview, central control
The Axis cameras are installed at every exit and entrance, as well as in the cafeteria and the materials storage facility, helping keep track of the hospital supplies.
"The cameras are covering the flow of patients and employees in and out of every department in the hospital," explains Williams. "We can see areas by the OB, the OR, the ER, by the Lab and X-Rays, near the special clinics, cardiology, radiology, materials storage, and everywhere! It's really nice to know we have the overview and are safer."
Access to the surveillance system is strictly limited to Andrew Shimon and John Williams only, to protect against any possible patient confidentiality issues with the system. Five keys are required to enter the security server room with the central monitoring PC.
Efficient, flexible and scalable
The hospital archives their surveillance images in the Milestone database for 15 days, then the system records automatically over the old ones, making efficient use of the IT resources and disk space.
"Any incidences that occur are resolved right away," Andrew Shimon explains.
He appreciates the ability to control the performance of the system through the flexible choices for setting up how the software operates, like defining the frame rates or image resolution. Recording only on motion detection also means that system resources are not tied up unnecessarily.
"I can improve the use of bandwidth myself by tweaking the Milestone software, and the image quality is really good with the Axis network cameras," says Shimon.
The IP software approach means that the IT infrastructure and network are already in place, so more cameras can be set up anytime and anywhere. This scalability is a big advantage, and means that the hospital's security investment will continue to pay off in future.
Shimon concludes: "The hospital is planning to construct a new building for surgery, and we'll be able to add new cameras to the system for that location, no problem."
At right, machinery working on expansions to the hospital