Video can reshape the future of healthcare if used responsibly

Today, the shortage of health workers and the burden of the repetitive and administrative tasks related to their work are at the heart of the news.

To remedy this situation, which prevents them from having the necessary time to properly care for patients, some countries are planning large investments in the digitalization of the health sector. By helping nurses better care for their patients, video technology has an important role to play in the success of these plans.

Data-driven video technology can support some of the routine tasks typically performed by nursing staff, giving them more time for one-on-one contact with their patients. To do this, it analyzes the videos of the cameras to recognize what is happening on the spot.

How data-driven video technology can help reshape the future of healthcare

  • Alarm when someone falls. Data-driven video technology can make the difference between someone falling, sitting up, kneeling or tying their shoelaces. In the event of a fall, the video system can immediately alert nurses and help them react quickly by showing them where it happened. If the fall is due to a heart attack or stroke, every minute saved can help save lives.
  • Assist patients before and after surgery. Transporting patients from their room to surgery often requires the use of hospital elevators. Data-driven video technology can help reduce delays in getting patients to operating rooms. By recognizing when operating beds enter elevators and disabling call buttons on other floors, video can allow the elevator to take patients directly to the operating floor. For patients in the recovery room after surgery, frequently opening the door during the night to check on them can disrupt the patient’s sleep and lead to a longer recovery time. Video technology can help nurses be there for patients when they need them, without having to disturb them too often.
  • Ensure the safety of patients and staff. The combination of data-driven video technology and intelligent sound analysis can detect fear, anger and verbal aggression. By alerting caregivers to a potential conflict, they can intervene early to prevent the incident from escalating into a physical assault. If a patient tries to harm themselves in their room, nurses can use two-way audio communication to respond quickly to calm them down and let them know help is on the way.

Balancing regulation and innovation in the service of patient privacy

These examples are just a few of the ways the healthcare industry can use video technology to benefit patients and caregivers. However, the way we use video technology in society is coming under increasing scrutiny, as the feeling that “Big Brother” is watching us is a serious problem for many people. In the healthcare industry, privacy is a major concern, whether it is data confidentiality or the privacy of individuals. For healthcare to embrace video technology, we need to have the right safeguards in place.

To protect patient privacy, the systems typically only use live video without recordings, while distorting patient images so they cannot be identified. Additionally, as video technology moves into the heart of healthcare systems, we need to introduce a legislation which prevents any unethical use. While we welcome more responsible behavior, creating meaningful legislation requires more dialogue between technology leaders and policymakers. The goal is to promote the responsible use of technology without slowing the pace of innovation.

As the healthcare industry increasingly looks to adopt data-driven video technology to help manage the ever-increasing workload of nurses, there is also uncertainty about how if technology can and cannot be used. The rules governing the use of video in hospitals are complex and in some cases overlapping. Not all hospital staff are legal experts and clearer guidelines are needed – for example on how to interpret and apply GDPR.

Video technology can transform our lives for the better. For future generations to accept, we need to use this amazing technology in the right way – responsibly.

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