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While wireless network and devices have always proved their importance in every industry, the healthcare setting may face certain challenges with wireless connectivity.
FREMONT, CA: In theory, doctors, nurses, and medics should be able to treat more patients faster, more accurately, and with greater flexibility, if they have secure mobile access to medical records and imaging, prescriptions, and even general administrative databases – from anywhere in a major health care institution, through home visits, or at the scene of an ambulance response. However, a series of relatively regular wireless network difficulties frequently thwart the predicted productivity benefits.
Here are the key challenges of wireless devices in healthcare settings:
Technology connectivity issues
The availability of bandwidth on their wireless network, which could limit physician access to patients' critical data, is a significant concern for users. Working with vendors to either transfer from proprietary solutions or update to an environment that allows different versions of 802.11 standards are two options for addressing this issue.
The physical architecture of healthcare institutions and problems acquiring broadband networks are two major obstacles to the deployment of wireless networks. Wireless signal limits, notably in older facilities, on lower floors, in underground areas, and from some modern construction materials such as steel-encased structures with glass windows that divert cellular signals, are cited as specific issues by users.
Network management issues
The volume of help desk calls received by IT experts will provide them with a strong indication of whether they are successfully managing their wireless settings. Some companies have implemented an organized rounding program to survey employees about any troubles they may be having and run reports on devices in order to uncover problems before they reach the notice of their users.
Users are also concerned about the overall security of the wireless environment. They have developed security methods such as single sign-on to alleviate these worries. Laptops that have been misplaced or stolen are another source of concern. Some businesses use centralized device software to lock down lost or stolen devices and prevent them from connecting to the network.
Fulfilling user demands
One area of worry is whether wireless technology can deliver on its promise of increasing productivity without needing end users to become IT professionals. Respondents discovered that when clinicians run into difficulty, they look for other solutions, which can sometimes irritate the network, or they purchase equipment that the IT department cannot maintain.