Facility Security

Improvements to Patient Safety Continue at Massachusetts General Hospital

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) presents unique challenges to security. Charged with creating a safe environment, the security team at MGH is simultaneously challenged by the hospital’s need for increased efficiency. The security team finds a solution that brings the facility’s surveillance system into the future and helps manage large caseloads.

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Located in downtown Boston, Massachusetts, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) is one of the premier medical facilities in the United States. MGH’s 17-acre urban campus includes 29 contiguous and 14 separate buildings (including underground and freestanding garage facilities). Adding to the complexity, the security team is charged with safeguarding not only the main location but also 13 satellite facilities around the Boston area.

Robert Leahy, senior manager, systems and technology for MGH, estimates that upwards of 40,000 to 50,000 people can be on-site on any given day. Massachusetts General Hospital had previously streamlined and expanded its video security system with an IP upgrade featuring Axis Communications network cameras.

According to Leahy, the adoption of a unified IP-based camera system helps the hospital maintain consistent and quality video coverage to ensure the safety of patients, staff, and visitors. “We want our video to always be there and available, and we want the capacity to expand however we need,” Leahy said.

Now with some 1,300 Axis Communications IP network video cameras in place and recording 24/7, the security team is faced with more than 1,000 investigations to process per year. A solution for quicker video review, search, and analysis is helping Massachusetts General Hospital’s security team keep up with the vast amounts of recorded video. Milestone Systems’ IP video management software with BriefCam Syndex Pro video synopsis analytics embedded within the Milestone XProtect Smart Client is making efficient and effective video investigation possible.

“The number of investigations we were doing was taking huge amounts of time in terms of reviewing video, and that was really a waste of resources,” said MGH Executive Director of Police, Security and Outside Services, and Consultant for Partners Healthcare, Bonnie Michelman.

“We can’t cover all of these facilities with security staff. We need to augment heavily with very good, state-of-the-art technology that allows us to combine our intelligence, labor, policies and procedures, in order to create a better holistic approach to enterprise risk management,” said Michelman.

To deal with the marked increase in video data following the hospital’s digital conversion unified on the Milestone XProtect video management platform, MGH’s security team chose BriefCam Syndex Pro, a powerful set of tools that reduces the time and effort needed to conduct video reviews, postevent video investigation and real-time video monitoring. The BriefCam solution integrates seamlessly with the Milestone video management solution, providing efficient workflow for investigators.

According to Michelman, the solution has proven invaluable. A 2-year-long examination of video surveillance use at MGH has shown a progressive rise in success rates with the use of video in incident investigations.

“In the past, there might have been things that would have been ‘nice to do,’ but we couldn’t do it because we didn’t have resources to watch many hours of video. Now we can manage the content and we can see trends, which in turn can drive redeployment of resources, and by extension, facilitate a better investigative focus and success,” said Michelman.