Evidence in Malpractice Litigation
The first argument for the usage of body cameras is that it helps in litigation of malpractice cases. The inevitable medical errors still remain the leading causes of patients’ deaths in the overall healthcare field, especially in direct care, and it is on the rise (Oura, 2022). Generally, during litigation, it is hard to determine whether the death was caused by a single act of negligence or by a series of errors, including gross misconduct. Moreover, the impact on patients’ health influenced by these errors is also difficult to assess. In these cases, body camera footage provides the necessary and crucial evidence for litigation. It can help not only defend the healthcare workers from unjust criticism or penalty but penalizes the workers who intentionally neglect their duties. This effect can improve healthcare outcomes and practices, as nurses strive for better care under the watch of the cameras.
Improved Behavior in Patients and Family
Not only do medical practices by healthcare workers improve with the increased usage of body cameras, but patients tend to behave more politely and patiently follow the instructions of the workers. With the increased deaths due to medical errors, as seen in the graph on the previous slide, it is even more crucial for every stakeholder in the treatment process to do their best (Rathnayake et al., 2021). A good proportion of the success of the treatment lies in the hands of the patients, as nurses cannot force them to follow the necessary procedures. Moreover, as for family members, one of the most common issues in dealing with people in healthcare is handling and communicating with family members. It is often that family members feel a range of negative emotions as the patients struggle through their diseases.
De-escalation of Potentially Volatile Situations
The extent of patients’ and their family members can result in possible violent behavior and volatile situations. As mentioned earlier, family members and patients may experience a range of negative emotions throughout the process of treatment (Ellis et al., 2019). Moreover, these emotions can escalate as a result of the fatality, as the deaths due to medical errors are on the rise. Not only the presence of body cameras can promote polite behavior and greater emotional control, but it prevents a violent reaction in most cases. Furthermore, the cameras also record the essential evidence in cases of violent aggression for further prosecution. It may help to penalize this behavior, dismaying the people from the violent expression of their emotions. It can further protect healthcare workers from any false claims and allegations of aggression in these cases.
Strength Analysis of the Pros with Evidence
The theoretical benefits of body cameras are clear. However, as body cameras continue to be integrated into hospitals, real-world evidence also shows a strong correlation between their usage and positive healthcare outcomes (Ellis et al., 2019). The primary healthcare effect of body cameras is the reduction of serious incidents to up to 70 percent. Most of the cases in decline are of verbal abuse from patients and family members. The evidence shows that the possible reason for this reduction is not only awareness of recording but the reassurance of the quality of service. Patients and their family members report feeling reassured that the quality of healthcare is being monitored and they are provided the best possible level of care. Not to mention that nurses reported feeling greater levels of safety and increased productivity due to this reassurance.
Impact on Professional Nursing
With all the reported benefits, the roll-out of body cameras in hospitals across the globe is predicted to only increase. The COVID-19 pandemic presented many challenges to the healthcare systems, especially to nurses seen in the table. A record number of nurses are leaving the field in the aftermath of this pandemic, reporting the necessity of change in the field. The hospitals are scraping by and trying to find solutions to ease the duty of nurses. Thus, the body cameras, with their reported efficiency and pros, seem to be the perfect and easy solution to the issue the hospitals. Compared to other solutions, including funding and procedural overhaul, the cameras are easy to purchase and implement. Moreover, with more studies coming out on their pros, many experts believe that body cameras will inevitably become mandatory in nursing.
Ellis, T., Shurmer, D., Badham-May, S., & Ellis-Nee, C. (2019). The use of body worn video cameras on mental health wards: Results and implications from a pilot study. Mental Health in Family Medicine, 15(3), 859-868. Web.
Oura, P. (2022). Urbanization level and medical adverse event deaths among US hospital inpatients over the period 2010–2019. Preventive Medicine Reports, 28. Web.
Rathnayake, S., Dasanayake, D., Maithreepala, S. D., Ekanayake, R., & Basnayake, P. L. (2021). Nurses’ perspectives of taking care of patients with Coronavirus disease 2019: A phenomenological study. PloS One, 16(9). Web.