Lee Health eases liability concerns with intelligent surveillance.
Network cameras enhance operational capabilities while fostering a safer environment.
Monitoring one medical facility is a challenge—let alone 35 of them. With four acute care locations, two specialty hospitals, and over 30 non-acute locations, Lee Health is one of the largest medical providers in the state of Florida. Its 13,000 employees and 4,500 volunteers ensure the network provides a high level of care for more than 1 million patients each year. With so much at stake, Lee Health needed a video surveillance system that could not only keep their facilities secure, but also provide organizational support.
Lee Health began the process of modernizing its surveillance system, and ultimately decided to purchase Axis cameras. Beginning with Golisano Children’s Hospital, Lee Health began installing HD-quality IP cameras across its many locations. In just under two years, over 1,100 Axis cameras were installed throughout the organization. Lee Health utilizes a wide portfolio of hardware and software technologies to keep patients safe and improve their quality of care by ensuring adherence to operational standards.
Lee Health has utilized Axis products to not only improve the security of its health care facilities, but ensure that patients are being provided with highquality care. The organization is able to monitor interactions between patients and caregivers while keeping an eye on the wellbeing and whereabouts of patients who may pose a fall risk. The team also ensures that staff members properly adhere to important health and safety standards as well as protect entrances and exits with intelligence capabilities—among many other benefits. Using Axis technology has allowed Lee Health to reduce personnel redundancies, ease liability concerns, and provide valuable peace of mind for patients and their families.
Better surveillance. Better care.
Lee Health, currently one of Florida’s largest health systems, has been serving patients in Southwest Florida for over 100 years. Founded in 1916, the organization operates four acute care hospitals, two specialty hospitals, and over 30 non-acute locations. Lee Health also operates a level II trauma facility, the only trauma center in the region. To provide high-quality care for over 1 million patients each year, Lee Health employs more than 13,000 employees and receives support from thousands of additional volunteers. With so many individuals to monitor over a wide range of locations, the constraints of an analog surveillance system became a cause for concern.
After experimenting with AXIS M30 Network Camera Series mini domes, decision makers at Lee Health decided to add over 1,100 Axis cameras to high-need areas throughout the care network. These cameras serve purposes that range from monitoring high-risk patients to loitering detection applications near emergency exits. The Lee Health team notes that these cameras aren’t just monitoring for security threats, either – they’re helping ensure operational effectiveness throughout the organization.
“Cameras are not just a public safety tool,” says Sean Owens, Lee Health director of public safety technology & non–acute care. “They’re an operational tool. We have users from construction to our wellness staff utilizing Axis cameras for different functions, such as verifying that infection prevention tools are being properly utilized and ensuring that interaction between staff and patients is correct.”
Attention where it’s needed
By utilizing these new resources, Lee Health has been able to greatly increase its patient care efficiency. For example, when caring for patients who are fall risks, real-time monitoring is all but impossible using traditional analog cameras, and Lee Health was forced to hire retired health care professionals to sit in the rooms of high-risk patients to ensure their safety.
Today, the organization can quickly mount wireless AXIS M10 cameras in the rooms to monitor these patients. By connecting to an AXIS T8705 Video Decoder, the live video feed is immediately displayed on a monitor at the nurse’s station. The technology has not only allowed Lee Health to reduce the need for additional personnel, but to monitor high-risk patients more efficiently than ever before.
“You’re talking about going from an individual observer needed in every room to being able to monitor four rooms at the same time,” explains Owens. “That’s a sub-project in and of itself that has really shown value.”
The bandwidth reduction capabilities enabled by Axis Zipstream technology ensure that even Lee Health’s most underserved locations can maintain a bandwidth minimum that allows this same level of protection and service as the organization’s other locations. Owens explains that, while Lee Health faces specific challenges, its partnership with Axis has allowed them to help identify and implement the right solutions to achieve better end results.
We used to pay a retired nurse to sit inside a patient’s room if deemed a fall risk. Within minutes, we can now mount an Axis camera and stream the video to a nurse’s station monitoring multiple rooms. We noticed an instant ROI after installing the cameras as they resulted in saving thousands of dollars per week in payroll expenses.
Easing liability concerns by getting to the truth
The safety of every patient, staff member, and visitor is a major concern for an organization like Lee Health, making thorough and robust monitoring of all locations a necessity. Lee Health recently began a pilot program deploying a number of AXIS M30 Panoramic Network Cameras capable of tying door entry into the eye of the cameras themselves.
Paired with AXIS Motion Guard detection application, the cameras trigger alerts with video verification when a person or object approaches the doors after hours, supporting Lee Health’s efforts to reduce its monthly false alarm fee with law enforcement.
Owens is quick to point out that the value provided by these surveillance capabilities goes beyond securing entry points and patient rooms. By strategically deploying cameras at high-risk locations, Lee Health has been able to not only ensure the safety of patients, but ease liability concerns for the institution as well.
“We had a location that was prone to slip/trip/fall claims, and we were able to mitigate those claims by providing the video of the incident,” he says. “Having the ability to pull video from anywhere in our organization is important to get to the truth of whatever occurred… those type of things mean a lot, and it’s very hard to quantify that value.”
Achieving 100% compliance in 1 week
What had been a major trouble spot turned into a fully compliant area in no time. Because Lee Health manages secure facilities, individuals hanging around fire exits is a major concern. By adding AXIS M1065 Network Cameras in exit stairwells, security personnel can receive real-time alerts with AXIS Loitering Guard and AXIS Cross Line Detection to immediately warn people away from fire exits with the built-in camera speaker.
“Before we deployed cameras with analytic and audio capabilities, we tried signage,” says Owens. “Signage just didn’t work. We were still getting people pushing out exit doors on a regular basis. But once we added the audio, within a week’s time we had a 100% compliance. It truly changed things.”
Reliable cybersecurity in an increasingly connected world
Connected devices like network cameras provide a clear benefit to organizations like Lee Health, but protecting those cameras and other devices with reliable cybersecurity best practices is essential. By helping to enhance Lee Health’s data security, Axis helps provide new avenues for support and cooperation within the organization itself.
“We took a look at what was out in the industry at the moment,” he says. “Enhancing our cybersecurity is definitely one of the things that allows us to go to our IT partners and show that we’re looking for solutions that benefit all of us at the end of the day.”
New advancements, new opportunities
By deploying new technology and making use of advanced analytics, the team has ensured that its patients have never been safer. And according to Owens, the organization doesn’t intend to stop there. Lee Health is currently exploring additional intelligence options to enable advanced audio analytics at the edge.
The organization is working with Axis partner, Sound Intelligence, to explore aggression detection, glass break detection, and other smart threat detection applications that operate inside the camera to further increase its capabilities.
“The Sound Intelligence Aggression Detector analytic has proven to be a game changer, especially for our patient care staff who feel more supported than ever,” explained Owens. “We are now receiving notifications of events well in advance of phone calls or panic button activations, which allows our Public Safety team to be en route and on scene faster than ever before!”
Lee Health continues to demonstrate a determination to be on the cutting edge of security and monitoring technology. By introducing these highly intelligent threat detection capabilities, the organization is providing its patients, visitors and staff throughout the state with the safest environment it can.