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Wireless Networking Advantages in Healthcare

Wi-Fi_1With the transition to electronic medical recordkeeping on the horizon, many hospitals and clinics are adopting EMR systems, which in turn offer the potential advantage of making better use of instrumentation and emerging technology. The bridge between the instrument sending out the data and the EMR system is wholly dependent on the connectivity between those devices and how they are capable of communicating. Common available options include Wi-Fi, WiMAX, Zigbee, Bluetooth and wired Ethernet.

The most advantageous connectivity type is Wi-Fi, and for several reasons. Wi-Fi, or Wireless Fidelity, is a term recognized today in nearly all facets of technology, but its arrival in the medical field wasn’t apparent until recently. Wi-Fi is defined as any wireless local area network, or WLAN, that is capable of data-transference speeds of up to 11mbps—significantly faster than the maximum allowed through a Bluetooth connection. It is the ideal choice for transferring information across a network, whether it is a live-streaming video of a robotically-operated surgery, uncompressed high-resolution medical images, or large data reports.

Wi-Fi_2Wi-Fi devices may connect to the Internet when in the range of their wireless network, and are not necessarily limited strictly to the network environments of which they are connected; whereas, Bluetooth is limited to the network of connected devices, and only up to a maximum of seven different networks. There is no limit to the number of devices that a Wi-Fi network can sustain. Wi-Fi also offers a greater distance range and security options versus Bluetooth.

There is also no limit to the number of medical applications that can utilize wireless technology, with possibilities ranging from digitally-inputting measurement data into an electronic medical record software package, to connecting a network of vital signs monitors, real-time patient monitoring of a digestive system, or even robotic surgical-operation assistance. While the practices themselves aren’t necessarily new, the methods and efficiency of transitioning these clinical systems to wireless connectivity means the quality of healthcare is steadily rising. Building up electronic medical databases for patients that are quickly and easily accessed makes both routine and emergency medical care much more efficient and it also provides secure real-time back-ups in case of a natural disaster or fire.

Wi-Fi_3Detecto’s MedVue weight analyzer utilizes optional Wi-Fi connectivity for networking with EMR/EHR packages. Detecto has upgraded many of their medical scales with the new MedVue indicator to take full advantage of the transition to this new electronic medium. This new indicator is featured on many of Detecto's eye-level, waist-high, bariatric, and wheelchair scales, replacing the model 758C indicator.  The advantages of Wi-Fi are quickly identified in the fast-paced and ever-changing medical field. The changeover to EMR/EHR has translated into an increase in the technology of the field. Devices are becoming more intelligent and are equipped with more ways to communicate their information. EMR-compatible software and equipment has proven invaluable both in the transition to and operation of modern medical recordkeeping.

Accessing information across multiple devices in a large network environment becomes a necessity, and the seven device limit imposed by a Bluetooth connection to a single point simply isn’t a viable option. The MedVue is capable of communicating all of its data, up to 99 stored IDs and their weights/heights/time-date, wirelessly to any other device on the same network.

Wi-Fi_4The painstaking task of updating records manually via paper charts is accomplished in mere seconds with the advantage of an electronic medical record database. Time is a factor in all aspects of life, and this rule is demonstrated no place more strongly than in the medical field. Speed of communication can oftentimes be a critical factor in the patient care process. While obtaining the body weight of a patient isn’t a life-or-death situation, it is precisely the speed of that process that allows more time to be utilized for other truly life-threatening situations. Not only is time saved, but potential risk for human error when entering the information is virtually eliminated. Communicating a multitude of medical information wirelessly saves valuable time and improves the quality of service in all fields of healthcare.

For more info on DETECTO's MedVue indicator:

DETECTO   •   Ph. (800) 641-2008   •   •   203 East Daugherty St., Webb City, MO 64870

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