Hospital Portable Camera Solution?

Our local hospital has called me in to offer a camera solution. For the most part it will be pretty straight forward. The challenge put to me, and now to you, is a remote camera(s).

(Overview) When a patient is admitted and needs additional supervision due to behavioral issues a security guard is called in to assist. Often time there are several patients requiring such attention. Thus, several security guards are needed. When the patient falls to sleep it becomes a waste of human recourses to have a guard watching one sleeping patient.

(Ideal situation) A wireless camera that can be deployed anywhere in the hospital, utilizing the a wifi network. A guard could complete his rounds and check his patients with a tablet or ipad device. Camera would also need to record video for several hours. Hope this is that enough info for a suggestion or two?

Thank you


Seems doable, presuming (1) the hospital's IT department is going to allow it and (2) the network has sufficient bandwidth.

I am assuming you don't need super high resolution nor frame rate? My assumption is that the guard just needs to know that the person is there and alive. VGA / 5fps should be good enough and will minimize network impact / need.

Do you know if a power outlet will typically be available or does it need to run on batteries?

I think HIPAA compliance is going to have a say in the execution of the idea. It may be as simple as getting the patent to sign a disclosure form that everything they do is being recorded, but then again, that may be fairly impossible to obtain.

The IT department is a stakeholder in this project and will assist in any way they can. Access to a power outlet is usually not an issue. A battery would be a nice option.

In Canada we do not have HIPAA however there is privacy issues here without a doubt. I am only concerned with the "doability" not the “Legalistic's” of the solution. I will however strongly advise the Hospital that this should be looked into prior to deployment.

That was my poor assumption you were in the US, then! Apologies!

I'd start with a mainstream wireless IP camera, like an Axis. Try it out. Put it in a few rooms, see what issues (network availability, streaming reliability, video quality, etc.)

If that passes, build a custom rig for it, etc.

I might be missing something but this sounds doable, as long as the wireless coverage is there.

Bosch rep - I have a spare Bosch wireless camera you are welcome to use as a pilot effort at no cost. Send me a private email with shipping info and I'll have it sent out. Matt@midlantic.net

the product that I think may work for you is a IP camera with analytics from Check Video

CheckVideo's typically designed for monitoring by a remote / third party provider. What Tom seems to be looking for is all on site / internal (especially since it's inside a hospital). The other issue would be setting up the analytics as the camera moved from room to room. For background on CheckVideo, see our CheckVideo strategy post and their recent acquisition.

Brian, there are typically cameras in specific rooms within the emergency room to monitor patients who may be a danger to themselves. HIPAA concerns come in when the medical information is not protected and the patient is identified. So I don't think a camera would be an issue.

I've also recommended the same type of setup in an attempt to eliminate having one "sitter" for each patient. It gets fairly costly and if you can mask off the area to "alert" the person monitoring the cameras, then even better.

Seems to me that the IT department could set up a VPN strictly for this use on a specific floor.

Please keep us posted on your final decision and how it works. I'm particularly interested. Thanks and good luck!

I can understand why analytics would have value here. Instead of checking in periodically on the video feed, you can jut get an alert if the person moves out of the FoV.

The problem is configuration if the camera is being moved from room to room. Unless you angle/position it exactly the same way in every room, you will have to recalibrate/set up the area each time you move it. I am not sure how you can get around that and suspect it would be a deal breaker for analytics.

John, the rooms used are usually fairly small and contain one bed. So if the area masked off is just outside of the bed, I can't imagine it would take long to set up vs. paying for patient sitting.

I don't think it would take long, it would just take someone who knows what he is doing and knows how to access / edit the config of the camera/system. If an orderly or security guard is moving this every few hours or days, I suspect they'll forget it (and trigger false alarms or miss something) or do it wrong, etc.

Ok thanks for clarifying. I understand what you mean. In my case and as an example, we had a "patient sitting" department. It consisted of employees who signed up for the extra hours. I would imagine that they (the department) would be tasked with setting up the cameras.

So, why is security required to monitor a patient. They are not trained to do medical monitoring. What if the patient codes? Is the patient freee to move around, or is the supervision restrictive. There are CMS issues here. We do not allow security officers to "monitor" patients, even behaviorial ones. This is better served by using a tech or sitter. They are trained to respond to medical emergencies.

We use security officers to respond when the patient is combative and poses a threat to themselves or to others. All of our psych area are equipped with cameras.

I think Tom is saying that Security only monitors "combative" type patients who are possibly under the influence and must have medical attention. They are not there to replace nursing staff, and yes, usually supervision restrictive.

I ran across this portable, temporary and mobile system in one of my recent searches. This may be what you want.

I have no affiliation with this company.

Thanks for the post. I am looking for a portable wireless system for covert surveillance.

For a realitve low cost, you could simply assign certain room that have permanently installed cams that can be powered on and off with a switch. This would make the wireless and battery portion needless. I am sure you could afford to install into extra rooms for the cost of the wireless and batteries, let alone the mess of having someone point and focus the camera properly each time it is needed. Also, I can imagine it getting moved by hospital staff if it gets in the way of their duties if it were a mobile unit.