We believe WiFi will be used to help transform healthcare.
Since our last article on the subject of WiFi in the healthcare industry, there have been many more interesting blogs circulating the net. so we thought we would write an update.
How does WiFi help staff and patients alike?
In an article posted by IT-Online in Technology Areas, Wireless Networking Trend tells us how with WiFi, healthcare professionals can be given real-time mobile access to patient records, test results and other important information while working in any part of the hospital. Also, patients who are able to stay in touch with loved ones via social media tend to fare better and recover faster than those who don’t. This is particularly important for older patients and those undergoing long-term treatment.
Why patients aren’t taking their tablets
Another article has focussed on the patients themselves. It was cleverly titled: Why patients aren’t taking their tablets, clearly referring to mobile tablets such as iPads, Kindle and the like. Patients just aren’t ‘taking their tablets’ to healthcare establishments – when they get there they are unable to connect to WiFi. The reason that they can’t is because there is no WiFi provision by the hospital – or there is a charge. Many hospitals who have provided some form of WiFi in the past tried to make money back by charging for it. Often the result is something that has been an expense to install and then left unused. The main factor holding hospitals back is the security concerns and cost. However, with today’s options for installing WiFi, these fears are largely unfounded.
It’s good to talk
Vicky Sargent says: ‘The hospitals that have led the way on patient wifi recognise the real benefits it can bring for patient well-being, including being able to talk to friends and family on skype, email or social media, being able to access free-of-charge entertainment, and being able to keep in touch with work, the latter being particularly useful for patients attending day clinics or parents and carers visiting or accompanying patients’.
In another recent article by the Guardian, research highlighted that 100% of junior doctors reported getting lost on their way to urgent crash calls. Wayfinding apps supported by WiFi could help doctors to familiarise themselves with sprawling hospital buildings, saving time and even lives.
There are factors that of course need to be considered in every medical institution. It is imperative that patient and visitor access is kept separate from the environment that is used by medical professionals. Anything containing medical notes should only be shared in a highly secure (encrypted) manner. Unified access solutions such as the one Cisco provide allow hospitals to apply strict, detailed rules as to what can be accessed by who, on what device, where and when!
We hope that more and more hospitals will follow suit and pledge to improve WiFi provision. It will make a real difference to the day-to day hospital environment.