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INSIGHTS

Optimizing healthcare surveillance solutions: balancing security and patient privacy

Optimizing healthcare surveillance solutions: balancing security and patient privacy
Explore the intersection of patient privacy and healthcare surveillance solutions.
Modern healthcare security demands professionals to address a pivotal challenge: integrating advanced surveillance solutions that safeguard the well-being of patients, staff, and assets while meticulously upholding the sanctity of patient privacy.
 
This delicate equilibrium is not only a matter of ethical responsibility but also a legal mandate, underscored by stringent compliance requirements, including those set forth by HIPAA.
 
This article explores the current advancements in healthcare surveillance technologies and strategies, offering insights for security integrators and healthcare administrators. It’s aimed at discussing how the latest advancements—ranging from AI-powered video analytics to secure video management systems—can be leveraged to fortify healthcare facilities against threats without transgressing privacy boundaries.

AI-powered video analytics

One of the most significant advancements in healthcare surveillance is the use of AI-powered video analytics. These sophisticated algorithms can analyze video feeds in real time, detecting anomalies or potential safety and security threats without the need to identify individual patients.
 
By leveraging deep learning algorithms that focus on specific areas or behaviors indicative of safety risks, you can help your clients maintain a high level of security while minimizing unnecessary intrusion into personal spaces, thereby respecting patient privacy.
 
“Advancements in AI-powered video already enable surveillance solutions to analyze video feeds in real-time without compromising patient privacy,” said
Jamie Barnfield, Senior Sales Director at IDIS Europe. “Deep learning algorithms can detect anomalies or potential safety or security threats without the need to identify individual patients, thereby maintaining a high level of security while respecting patient privacy.”

Secure video management systems

When recommending a video management system (VMS) to your healthcare clients, it's essential to ensure that the solution aligns with HIPAA regulations and includes robust security features. Look for systems that offer:
 
1. End-to-end encryption
2. Audit logs of all system access
3. Configurable user access
 
These features provide greater privacy protection for patients by preventing unauthorized access to sensitive data captured through video surveillance. By offering your clients VMSs with these capabilities, you can help them maintain compliance and protect patient confidentiality.
 
“By choosing a video management system that is inherently secure and has strong security safeguards like end-to-end encryption, audit logs of all system access, and configurable user access, hospitals provide greater privacy protection to their patients,” said Robert Wall, CTO of Edge360

Unified physical security infrastructure

Many healthcare facilities are modernizing their physical security infrastructure by unifying various systems on a single, open platform. As an integrator, you can help your clients achieve this by integrating video management, access control, automated license plate recognition (ALPR), communications management, and IoT devices.
 
While unifying data across these systems can provide valuable insights for creating a safe and efficient environment, it's crucial to emphasize the importance of data privacy to your clients.
 
Modern VMSs offer features to ensure that only authorized personnel can access personal data and to control and monitor how they access it. Privacy protection capabilities, such as pixelating people in videos to blur their identity and providing audit trails, help maintain the confidentiality of patient information. Encourage your clients to conduct penetration testing before upgrading their surveillance systems to identify and address any potential vulnerabilities.
 
“Along with the increasing use of video analytics, we’re seeing more healthcare facilities modernizing their physical security infrastructure to unify video management systems (VMS), access control systems (ACS), automated license plate recognition (ALPR), communications management and IoT devices, on a single, open platform,” said Courtney Whaylen, Account Executive for Enterprise at Genetec.

Remote patient monitoring and cloud-based solutions

Video integration is also evolving in the realm of remote patient monitoring. As a security integrator, you can introduce your healthcare clients to cloud-based solutions, such as Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS). These solutions prioritize the protection of individuals and their privacy, ensuring that surveillance is only as extensive as necessary for safety.
 
VSaaS allows hospitals to customize their security strategies to meet the distinct needs of their specific settings, with a focus on areas where privacy is of utmost importance unless required by safety concerns.
 
By recommending solutions that leverage video and cloud technologies for remote patient monitoring, you can help your clients enhance care delivery while emphasizing real-time interaction and stringent data protection. This fosters a more connected and secure healthcare system, where patient privacy is protected while still allowing for effective monitoring and communication between patients and healthcare providers.
 
“Using AI and smart analytics, technologies such as VSaaS selectively monitor specific areas or behaviors indicative of safety risks — minimizing unnecessary intrusion into personal spaces,” said Steve Prodger, CRO of Arcules. “This approach prioritizes the protection of individuals and their privacy, ensuring surveillance is only as extensive as necessary for safety.”

Partnering with reputable vendors

As a physical security integrator, it's essential to work with reputable surveillance vendors who understand the unique challenges of the healthcare industry. Recommend vendors who offer NDAA-compliant equipment, ensuring ethical manufacturing origins and eliminating the potential risk of cybersecurity backdoors.
 
Your chosen vendors should also be well-versed in the latest privacy regulations and be able to provide solutions that are designed with strict compliance in mind.
 
“Most reputable surveillance vendors working in the healthcare sector know that it’s crucial to strike a balance between security and patient privacy,” Barnfield said. “Typically, they are already using technology to ensure patient data captured from surveillance cameras is encrypted both during transmission and storage, safeguarding it from unauthorized access. As a result, most healthcare providers, even outside of the U.S., opt for NDAA-compliant equipment that gives the assurance of ethical manufacturing origins and eliminates the potential risk of cyber security ‘backdoors’.”

Conclusion

The healthcare industry is continually evolving to balance the critical needs of security and patient privacy. As a physical security integrator, you play a crucial role in helping healthcare organizations navigate this complex landscape.
 
By staying informed about the latest advancements in privacy-preserving surveillance and recommending solutions that leverage AI-powered video analytics, secure video management systems, and the integration of various physical security systems on open platforms, you can help your clients create safer environments while protecting patient confidentiality.
 
Additionally, by introducing cloud-based solutions like VSaaS for remote patient monitoring and partnering with reputable vendors, you can provide your healthcare clients with customizable, compliance-focused options that prioritize both patient safety and privacy.
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