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INSIGHTS

Milestone integrates with innovative video tech as game-changer for the healthcare sector

Milestone integrates with innovative video tech as game-changer for the healthcare sector
Milestone integrates with innovative video tech as game-changer for the healthcare sector
The healthcare sector is under tremendous pressure to find solutions that can address new challenges brought about by the pandemic. Benjamin Low, VP for APAC at Milestone Systems, speaks to asmag.com about how video technology is playing a critical role in transforming and supporting the healthcare industry.
COVID-19 has battered the healthcare industry in more ways than one. The unprecedented arrival of the highly contagious virus forced hospitals and other healthcare facilities to think out of the box and leverage the power of technology to function at higher levels now demanded of them.
 
Hospitals worldwide have quickly adopted a wide range of technologies, ranging from contactless access control to remote monitoring systems and even robots. One among them that has stood out as incredibly beneficial is video technology.
 
A company that has been at the forefront of providing video technology solutions to the healthcare industry is Milestone Systems. With an open architecture and a plethora of partners that focus on healthcare solutions, Milestone has ambitions to transform the healthcare sector with video technologies.

New challenges in healthcare

The biggest challenge that COVID-19 has brought about is managing a crisis with limited resources. Even before the pandemic, there was a shortage of healthcare workers around the world. What the pandemic has done is amplify this lack of doctors, nurses, and other medical staff. This, in turn, has weakened healthcare in many developing and developed countries where healthcare workers are overworked and vulnerable to the public’s anger.
 
"We see the acute shortage of workers in many parts of the world," explains Benjamin Low, Regional VP for APAC at Milestone Systems. "In countries where healthcare infrastructure is not well developed, the pandemic has brought about an exodus of healthcare workers leaving the industry because they are fearful for their own safety. We have also seen protests and walkouts from healthcare professionals worldwide."
 
There are challenges in hospital management as well. As COVID-19 necessitated social distancing, minimum physical contact, frequent testing, and isolating people, hospitals have had to think of new ways to manage patients and visitors entering hospital premises. They had to develop systems that would help monitor patients without healthcare workers or care takers being near them physically.
 
Finally, COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of remote management of healthcare issues. Hospitals have had to expedite the roll out of solutions that would allow patients to consult without leaving the safety of their homes.

The critical role of video technology in healthcare

A single major technology that has become incredibly useful in the pandemic is video. Video enabled work from home, school from home, and even healthcare consultations from home. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Even before the pandemic, video technology had begun to revolutionize the way healthcare facilities operate.
 
For instance, Nemours Children’s Hospital in the US wanted to install a system that would help continuous, non-intrusive monitoring of their patients wherever they are. They aimed to provide patients a better tool to connect with their families, improve the care, and provide a better experience while they were at the hospital. With the help of Milestone Systems, Nemours set up a multi-screen mission control system that could provide footage from cameras installed in patient rooms without invading their privacy.
 
A more advanced system was test-bedded in Singapore recently for the safety and privacy of a group of elderly residents. With the help of AI-enabled cameras and audio sensors, the facility can keep a close watch on patients and send help efficiently. Running on Milestone’s open VMS, fall and sound detection solutions from Milestone’s partner, Senturian Solutions could trigger instant alerts to staff when there is an untoward incident without compromising the elderly’s’ privacy thanks to Canon’s privacy masking plug-in. This pilot project has shown how video can assist with safety monitoring and effective incident management.
 
"Video technology has actually stepped up to provide healthcare professionals a different way to assess the patient remotely," Low continued. "We have even seen fantastic use of analytics and wearables for contact tracing, containment, and treatment."
 
Milestone has several partners offering solutions exclusively for the healthcare sector. Virtual patient observation is probably one of the most popular among them as it provides hospital staff an extra pair of eyes, is cost effective, and improves overall productivity.

Why a robust open-source VMS is critical for healthcare

Security cameras have become a common part of modern life. Hardware technology has advanced well enough to give us excellent quality videos at any time of the day or night. But capturing videos is just one step in leveraging this technology. Managing massive amounts of video effectively for the best results is what matters.
 
"The most significant reason for using an open platform like Milestone’s VMS is the ROI," Low pointed out. "If you go to any hospital or healthcare facility, you will see that they already have cameras installed. And usually, these cameras, like in many traditional places, monitor entry points, exit points, and other main areas where people gather. They may have a small data center that stores the videos for a few days."

Lowered costs

When the hospitals want to upgrade their video technology to bring in new solutions that help them meet existing challenges, replacing the existing cameras could prove expensive. Lowering the costs is extremely important to hospitals at this point because of the overall resource crunch they face.
 
"Hospitals now want solutions like people counting and occupancy management to reduce overcrowding, and they would ideally like to do it without having to tear out the old cameras," Low said. "The advantage of Milestone’s VMS is that it works with existing legacy solutions as well as advanced, state of the art devices, allowing hospitals to leverage the power of video technology in its entirety."

An opportunity for systems integrators in healthcare

The arrival of such unprecedented challenges has necessitated innovative service from systems integrators (SI) as well. This is because although the objectives of most health care facilities are similar, each has unique needs. This means SIs needs to have a clear understanding of the situation on the ground and innovate with the right solutions.  
 
"Systems integrators really need to understand the customer’s pain points," Low said. "Business and technology requirements have changed dramatically over the last two years and SIs need to understand this paradigm shift. They need to understand what the pandemic has brought about for security."
 
This means that SIs must maximize value for their customers and they can do so with emerging technologies like AI, Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices, integrating temperature checking, visitor management, people counting, and several other solutions with the simple power of the traditional video camera. Once they have an in-depth understanding of the requirements and the technology available, they can offer the best solution to the customer.
 
"The crucial part is finding a solution that can interoperate with what the hospitals already have and using a layered approach to help them to reduce costs and have a faster time to market," Low summed up. 

Beyond the pandemic 

COVID-19 is far from over, but the healthcare industry must look further at how new and emerging technologies can relieve manpower burdens.
 
Video technology has helped the world survive this pandemic. But it has even more potential than what most people realize. With solutions like Milestone’s open VMS, hospitals, and healthcare facilities can offer more efficient processes, lower business costs and help us live better lives.
 
 
 
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