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Beyond Virtual Patient Observation


The Dimension Data Virtual Patient Observation (VPO) solution was originally developed for hospitals to help reduce the number of patient falls and the cost of observing patients at risk. The backbone of the VPO solution is a highly-available Cisco Video Surveillance Manager System, fixed and mobile cameras, and video analytics.

It has been heartwarming to see the positive reactions from patients and their family members and to hear clinicians’ stories around how VPO is helping their patients.  Many of the stories go beyond reducing risk. Observers have sent assistance to a choking patient, alerted nursing to a patient going into shock, and observed a patient so her daughter felt comfortable leaving the bedside for a short while. It is in part due to these positive, unexpected experiences that our customers are thinking outside the box and expanding the use cases for VPO. We see customers monitoring patients at-risk for elopement, confusion, and drug or alcohol abuse, and providing additional oversight in rooms where a patient may be a danger to the in-room observer or others.

One customer is deploying the VPO solution in their Behavioral Health (BH) unit to ensure safety levels can be maintained. They are pleased that they can use the same solution as used on the non-BH units. The customer is installing VPO fixed cameras placed in the ceilings in patient rooms, bathrooms, hallways and other high-risk areas. Viewing of those cameras will be segmented or directed to the nursing and security personnel on the BH unit. Further, the customer is implementing video motion detection analytics and event notification. Analytics consists of embedded software that runs on the camera to provide alerts when people or objects cross a user-defined line such as entering a room or getting out of bed. A different customer is using the mobile VPO solution to assess and diagnosis patients in their BH unit.

A third customer is deploying VPO in their NICU for the purpose of providing direct care or interventions by a physician not physically located in the same room with the patient. A physician in a remote location will evaluate the patient with the assistance of a bedside clinician. Once again, the flexibility of the Dimension Data VPO solution enables the customer to leverage the existing technology in a different way; in this case by allowing physicians with appropriate login credentials to have a view of their patients from a distance.

A fourth customer is considering connecting their existing cameras in their ED to the Dimension Data VPO solution so that they will have a single Observation Room manned by similarly trained personnel following standard policies and procedures. It preserves their investment in existing equipment and gives them the flexibility to add new use cases and capabilities as needed.

A key advantage of Dimension Data’s VPO solution is that it is built on the Cisco Video Surveillance Manager system, which can be used to support facility and asset security operations. Optional recording to provide evidence for investigation, camera analytics that detect motion and send automatic alerts, and the ability to segment and direct camera views to specific personnel are capabilities that a niche Patient Observation vendor can’t offer. Several customers have recognised that implementing a single solution to support both patient and staff safety and facility and asset security operations adds up to cost savings, freeing up funds for other initiatives.

We expect to see continued expansion of the VPO solution, not only within hospitals, but also in Long Term Care, Assisted Living, Rehabilitation, Alzheimer, Psychiatric, and Drug and Alcohol facilities; but that is for another blog.

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