Deploying wireless technologies within hospitals can enable healthcare professionals the freedom to provide quality care from anywhere in the organization. EMR systems are enabling healthcare organizations to go high tech with equally progressive voice and data communications. Yet, while physicians are reachable on their cell phones 24/7, whether at home or on the golf course, critical cellular coverage is often absent where it is needed most: inside the hospital. And while EMRs supposedly make data available anytime, anywhere, their benefits cannot be maximized as long as computers and medical devices remain stationary rather than following physicians and clinicians to the point of care.
With deployment of wireless technology, three healthcare organizations recently enhanced their voice and data mobility. Their experiences can serve as best practices for planning and implementing such systems. Florida Hospital in Orlando rolled out in-building wireless technology from MobileAccess to support a full range of wireless services and applications, as well as support the diverse needs of more than 16,000 staff, 2,000 physicians, and countless visitors. The result is a wireless infrastructure that delivers pervasive coverage for all major wireless operators and ensures support for cellular voice and data services for more than 1,500 BlackBerrys and visitor cell phones. The system complements the 802.11 wireless infrastructure the hospital had previously deployed. Oklahoma City’s Mercy Health Center deployed Cellular Specialties’ (CSI) in-building wireless system to enhance wireless signal strength and call quality throughout the medical campus to enable physicians, clinicians, and visitors to take full advantage of their voice and data applications, regardless of location. In Memphis, Tenn., Baptist Memorial Health Care implemented Johnson Controls’ in-building wireless distribution system for complete wireless coverage throughout its facilities. The infrastructure supports voice and data systems such as personal communications/cellular carriers, local area networks, two-way radios, digital paging, handheld clinical devices, medical telemetry, and the EMR system.