Antonius HyperCare, an independent treatment centre in the Netherlands,practicing hyperbaric oxygen therapy, is located on the grounds of the Antonius Hospital, Sneek. It features a decompression chamber which is pressurised for a variety of medical functions. This includes treatments to promote the healing of wounds in diabetes sufferers and treatment for divers suffering from decompression sickness. Ten patients can sit inside the pressurised chamber for up to two hours at a time, while oxygen is delivered via a mask. By law, every decompression chamber has to be fitted with monitoring cameras due to the nature of the therapy, side effects such as light-headedness, fatigue, and ear pain can occur.Patients therefore have to be closely observed at all times to ensure they aren’t showing signs of oxygen toxicity.
In 2014, the centre identified that the current fleet of low-resolution and limited capability analogue cameras installed on its decompression chamber were causing problems for its staff and daily operations, especially in cases where they needed to zoom in on a patient without losing image quality. As a result, they started looking for a more effective solution.
The analogue cameras that were previously installed for HyperCare’s hyperbaric chambers had no pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) function – something that the staff at the centre found extremely frustrating. The chamber had four different cameras installed in four peepholes, so the medical workers had to walk around the entire chamber to see inside it from all angles. This meant leaving the control room and wasting valuable time moving from each hole to the next. The chamber holds up to ten patients at a time, and not being able to monitor all ten at once, from one location, was highly impractical and inefficient.
Without a PTZ function, only the patient seated directly in front of the camera could be observed, while the other patients were in the peripherals of the picture. With such basic equipment, it was almost impossible to detect if a patient was asleep or unconscious. “The medical staff need to be able to observe the faces and expressions of everyone they treat in a chamber,” explained René Groot, general manager at Antonius HyperCare. “As this is such an effective mode of treatment, many patients won’t speak up if they are in pain or uncomfortable, as they don’t want to interrupt the proceedings. Therefore it is up to us to make sure they are as comfortable as possible and to monitor their movements for safety purposes.”
After vigorous research and testing, Systems-Integrator.tv, an independent team of broadcast and multimedia equipment integrators and consultants, identified that a new deployment of four Canon network security cameras to replace the four older analogue models would save both time and frustration for the staff at HyperCare as well as help cut costs for the centre. “Before making any recommendations, Systems-Integrator.tv worked hard to get under the skin of HyperCare and understand what needed improving and how best to do it. This was one of the reasons we decided to work with them,” commented René.
Canon’s VB-S30D, Full HD PTZ Minidome camera was recommended due to being the most cost-effective option that provided a high-resolution image with no compromise on frame rate. At 30 frames per second (fps) the resulting image is not only clear and sharp, but also incredibly smooth. The wide-angle lens provides an overview of several patients simultaneously, while the PTZ feature offered a quick zoom to a specific area of one patient using the configurable pre-sets of the cameras. The Input/Output (I/O) module allowed for all four cameras to start and stop recording simultaneously at the push of a custom made button, and a microphone was fitted to one of the cameras in order to add sound recording from within the chamber for the first time.
Canon’s network security cameras are used with Canon’s video recording software which provides instant playback capabilities. They have the added advantage of an internal micro SD card, which records one frame every second as a back-up against any possible failure or corruption. With 64GB of storage, there is no need for compromise on recording quality by compressing these images, which is often the case with so many other models.
As a result of Canon’s RM-Software capabilities, the cameras were able to improve the centre’s workflow by allowing the staff to watch two screens at one time. One screen can show a close-up of the patient, while the other shows a quad split full camera view of the chamber. This means that the site awareness increased for the operator, enabling them to monitor all of the patients from a seated position, without having to waste time walking around the chamber. The software is also set up so the staff can easily tilt from the patient’s face to their legs, to ensure the legs are not crossed and blood circulation is not compromised.
Once the analogue cameras had been replaced with Canon network security cameras, the team at Systems-Integrator.tv helped train the staff to ensure everybody was immediately up to speed with how to work the new equipment. “The training took about two evenings,” stated Bert. “It was a relatively easy process, although we provided more in-depth counsel to HyperCare’s technical specialist.”
Canon was also on hand to provide post sale support and software assistance. “The process was simple and intuitive, and our staff immediately began working much more efficiently which reduced their levels of stress.” concluded René.
Like most medical treatment centres, HyperCare is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The HyperCare decompression chamber is in use every day which meant that the switch from the old analogue system to the new IP VB-S30D cameras had to happen in less than 12 hours.
“Our solution was to remotely configure and test the system overnight in order to gain a head start”, explained Bert Hennephof, project manager at Systems-Integrator.tv. “The most difficult part was fitting the cameras over the peepholes. This had to be done in a matter of hours on-site, to ensure the transition was completely smooth and the new equipment worked without any hitches the next day.”
“The team persevered to understand the requirements of installing network cameras for professional medical use, and they worked very hard to deliver,” admitted René Groot. “The installation had to be extremely fast to avoid disrupting patients. We were very lucky to have a fantastic partner in both Systems-Integrator.tv and in Canon who provided a responsive and engaged aftersales team. Throughout any minor hiccup, the team at Canon were readily available on the phone to talk us through any of our questions. They were willing to travel to our location whenever we needed them and the combination of System-Integrator.tv’s extensive knowledge of camera software and lenses, and Canon’s expertise in the security industry, meant we were in a very safe pair of hands. This took an enormous amount of pressure off us and made the day-to-day running of the centre that much easier.”
The installation of the cameras has transformed the user experience at the centre, resulting in a major improvement of patient observation. The medical staff are now much better equipped to identify potential problems quickly and act on them efficiently. The hospital now has a reliable monitoring system that guarantees extremely sharp images and details of patients in the chambers whenever needed. The old analogue system always carried the minor risk that small changes in facial expression would not be picked up due to the low resolution images but the upgraded systems mean this is no longer an issue.
In addition, the new cameras have vastly improved the working conditions of the staff at HyperCare, who are now able to observe the maximum number of patients using a camera that can be tilted, panned and zoomed optically, from a seated position. Nurses no longer have to walk to each individual port to observe the patients, and are instead able to remain in the control room to ensure the optimum conditions for the patients inside the chambers are always met. “HyperCare is more productive, more efficient and more pleasant today, thanks to the new Canon cameras” concluded René.