Body-worn cameras, as the name suggests, are devices that are worn on the body to record the wearer’s activities. These cameras are mostly used by law enforcement agencies, such as police departments in order to assist in solving crimes. There has been a tremendous improvement in efficiency and reliability, and there has also been a decline in the use of force by officers. There has also been an improvement from citizens, as the number of wrong accusation of cops have also fallen. The body-worn camera is now being considered for implementation in other industries. such as healthcare. This industry for example has decided to adopt this technology into helping their health workers perform their duties better.
In the UK, some health care facilities have already started using such devices. According to a study carried across three months at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, there has been a decline in violence at hospitals by 28%. The security officers at the hospital wore RS series body cameras. With these cameras, they were able to record every threat of verbal abuse or physical action against them. They were also able to capture any threats or unreasonable behavior, along with racial and verbal abuse through the recording from the cameras. For instance, there was the case of a female patient who refused to leave the emergency department and demanded prescription drugs and further accused employees of sexual harassment. The body camera in this case proved useful when she was informed that she was being recorded. This study in general shows that the body camera has been useful in the healthcare sector as well.
At the Hillington Hospital NHS Foundation, also in the UK, the health facility has adopted the use of body-worn cameras. The security officials who wear these devices are responsible for telling patients they would be recorded if they misbehaved or acted in any way inappropriate. As a result of this, there was a huge reduction in violence. The cameras were even able to detect flaws in the CCTV surveillance placed in the hospital around as the body cameras have the advantage of gathering evidence in closer proximity. The cameras were even able to recognize unauthorized staff that requested entry into a department. In Cardiff Hospital in Wales, security officers turn on the cameras mainly to curtail a violent situation. Patients are aware that whatever footage recorded can be used against them in court, and as a result, violence and inappropriate behavior has decreased in hospitals that make use of body-worn cameras.
Body-Worn Cameras: Should They be Allowed at Healthcare Facilities?
The hospital is a place whereby the privacy of patients and visitors is important considering the legal and regulatory circumstances that healthcare demands. There are very strict rules that govern the usage and release of information of special needs patients. Many of such patients’ treatments begin in the emergency department, which is an area that needs more security, and hence involves more staff wearing body cameras. Victim and witness interviews are also held by law enforcement officers in this department. However, those who are wearing the cameras should be careful of what they choose to capture, as this place is likely to include patients and victims who would value their privacy in their sensitive situations. Many healthcare providers have developed policies and procedures detailing the accepted and appropriate use of these recording devices. For example, verbal approval or consent could be asked from the patient before the health official record them.
Although the issue of privacy can pose a concern, the use of body-worn cameras has proven overall beneficial when implemented in hospitals. With proper measures in place to tackle any issues regarding privacy, these devices are definitely an efficient and effective tool for the healthcare industry.