Nebraska Medical Center Improves Patient Safety with IP Video

nebraska-medical-center-09aWith nearly 5,000 employees and 1,000 physicians, The Nebraska Medical Center is the largest healthcare facility in the state. 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 at-risk patients who need around-the-clock monitoring.

Previously, when a patient required 24/7 observation, the hospital had to place a staff member in the room to keep an eye on the patient. 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 was typical for the medical center to have two or three dozen patients being watched in a one-on-one scenario on a given day, which 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.

Our goal was to ensure patient safety and to reduce costs. We have always had a population of patients who are confused and agitated; patients who we are not comfortable left alone in their rooms. It was necessary to staff those rooms for round-the-clock observation.  At a time where we needed to reduce our staffing, installing video monitoring cameras at almost every bedside was the best option and helped a great deal. – Maureen Goltl, Operations Manager, Nebraska Medical Center

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

Partnering for success

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.

nebraska-medical-center-aicu-2In 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 video management software. They used this as a foundation for planning 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 had a timetable because 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.”

Software Training Easy for Staff Turnover

Sentrixx trained a core group of staff members at The Nebraska Medical Center, including Goltl. They quickly learned how to use the software and perform troubleshooting. Those staff members, in turn, have trained more staff.

It’s pretty easy software to figure out so we haven’t had any problems, says Goltl. As we have new people coming and going, they really just need to sit down for a few minutes to get training.

The Nebraska Medical Center now has seven units that are regularly staffed for manning the monitoring stations: two medicine telemetry units, two surgical units, the solid organs and transplant unit, the neurology unit and the cardiology unit.

nebraska-medical-center-p85There are a dozen monitoring stations, some of which are actively used on a daily basis, while some are only used when there is a need. On average they are monitoring about 5 to 6 patients per active monitoring station, for a total of 20 to 30 patients monitored at any given moment. This number fluctuates, and they can use XProtect to quickly activate and deactivate cameras as needed.

“They don’t need to look at all the cameras all the time,” says Fenton, Manager at Sentrixx Security. “The staff only needs to see a camera feed if there is a concern about that patient’s safety. “That was an important factor. With XProtect, we could take a server for a floor and put 20 cameras on it. A staff member at the monitoring station can just pull up the list of cameras in XProtect and drag over the cameras that they want to see during their shift. In the middle of the night, they can very easily add a camera to the monitoring station when they need to, which is important in a hospital setting where patients move around at all hours.”

Discussing the broad set of advanced XProtect capabilities, Fenton describes what makes XProtect right for The Nebraska Medical Center: the comprehensive software is easily learned and operated by staff. “The software can use smart technology to mask out an area and send a signal if the person moved beyond that area, but with the amount of activity in a hospital room, they really needed something that would be as simple to manage as possible.”

The video is not only treated as a security surveillance application, Goltl elaborates. It’s also a patient care application.

The Nebraska Medical Center could quickly cite a number of benefits even after just a short period of use. The deployment was fast and easy, and training staff on XProtect software took practically no time.

For the full version, visit Milestone Systems.

Courtney Pedersenby Courtney Dillon Pedersen, Communications Manager, Milestone Systems


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