When it comes to at-risk patients, every facet of care should be scrutinized. Although there are plenty of strategies and techniques to choose from, audio and video are quickly becoming the preferred solution among forward-looking healthcare organizations and facilities.
Who Are At-Risk Patients?
To suggest that all patients are equal would be misleading. All are certainly equal in terms of their value as human beings, but they can’t all be equal in the sense of requiring the same level of care and attention.
Certain patients require more precise and comprehensive treatment. At-risk patients require additional monitoring outside the scope of normal care and observation.
Patients are usually given the “at-risk” designation when one or more of the following is present:
- High risk for self-harm
- High risk for falling
- History of wandering
- Impulsive behavior
- Restless behavior
- Pulling at lines or tubes
- Behavioral health conditions
At-risk patients may pose a greater challenge, but they require treatment just the same. This may create distinct challenges with regard to care management.
Challenges of Managing At-Risk Patients
At-risk patients have always been a difficult population for hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Major concerns and points of contention include:
- Patient safety. For the most part, at-risk patients are viewed as a risk to themselves. Whether the issue is falling, pulling at lines and tubes, or wandering off, healthcare facilities have an obligation, first and foremost, to keep the patient from further harm.
- Staff safety. Sometimes, at-risk patients can pose a threat to staff members. Non-compliance, dementia, impulsive behavior, and other behavioral health conditions can place doctors, nurses, or technicians in compromising situations. You have to do all you can to prevent, neutralize, and avoid these events.
- Equipment and facility. Whether it’s purely an accident — like a slip and fall — or not, at-risk patients can damage medical equipment and have a negative impact on your facilities.
- Added costs. Whether patients harm themselves, others, or hardware, added costs are associated with preventing and remediating such matters. In some cases, a single incident may cost six or seven figures to address.
- Increased liability. Significant liability attaches to at-risk patients. Even if the person is deemed to be a risk to him- or herself, the assigned healthcare team typically has a responsibility to protect the patient from his or her own actions. Failure to do so can entail severe financial and legal consequences.
All too often, at-risk patients command more resources and lead to more headaches for hospital administrators and staff. For decades, new strategies, techniques, and innovations have been introduced to manage at-risk patients, yet few have been effective or sustainable. In order for a solution to work effectively, it has to check off five essential boxes:
- It must improve population outcomes.
- It must reduce medical costs.
- It must enhance the patient experience.
- It must streamline processes.
- It must not raise the likelihood of physician burnout.
There’s only one solution that arguably enhances care management among the at-risk patient population by meeting all of these criteria: video observation.
The Role of Video Observation
The only way to protect and serve at-risk patients comprehensively is to observe them via sight and sound. Since it’s not realistic to have a staff member follow at-risk patients around the clock, video observation is the next best option.
Video observation works by introducing video recording devices into at-risk patient rooms. These devices transmit audio and video feeds to centralized servers that process the content and stream to Internet-connected browsers.
The individual at the other end can observe the video and transmit audio to the room. Here are some specific ways video observation can lower staff costs without compromising the safety of the patient:
- With the right video observation platform, multiple patients can be monitored at the same time. This reduces the amount of staff required to stay on top of the at-risk patient population.
- Video observation means hospitals don’t have to hire new staff members on site. The video can be directed to an “observation center” for cost-effective monitoring. Sometimes, the observation team is an outsourced extension of the organization.
- Advanced video observation platforms can integrate with other communication devices and solutions. This empowers the individuals who monitor the patients to text or call an appropriate staff member for quick alerts.
- Most systems don’t record video, which eliminates privacy concerns and reduces the risk associated with storing confidential data governed by HIPAA.
In large health-care organizations with multiple facilities, a video observation solution can save thousands of dollars a day and millions annually. When you add in the improved patient care and boost to the provider’s reputation, it becomes an invaluable solution to a major challenge.
The Power and Utility of the VALT System
There are several different video observation systems on the market, but none can match the features and ROI of Intelligent Video Solutions’ VALT (Video Audio Learning Tool) system. Features, benefits, and applications include:
- Easy integration with the latest in IP camera technology. This ensures you’re able to view high definition in 1080p resolution and in real time. With discreet auto-gaining microphones, audio will be perfectly synchronized every time. (The system is also exceptional at picking up soft voices.)
- Complete scalability. Whether you have a single camera or dozens, our software system is capable of meeting your specific needs.
- Multi-view capability that allows you to change views from a single camera to 2x2 or even 3x3 orientations. This means up to nine camera feeds can be viewed simultaneously on a single screen.
- Serious adherence to security and compliance. Detailed audit logs, optional encryption, and comprehensive user management rights make VALT perfect for the stringent requirements associated with HIPAA laws.
If you’re interested in learning more about the VALT system, please contact Intelligent Video Solutions today. We’d be happy to walk you through the specific applications as they pertain to your unique needs.
Our team can even provide a quote and schedule a free demonstration. We look forward to speaking with you!