Today, the networking needs of hospitals have gone beyond just providing the guests and visitors with an average internet connection. With the imminent arrival of ‘Internet of Things’, the healthcare industry is on the cusp of undergoing a major transformation.
Gone are the days when guests were provided with a sub-par internet connection, primarily for browsing and other leisure purposes. Today, wireless networks are being used to register health records on electronic health records, which have improved data accuracy and made the entire process quicker too. The possibilities which a wireless network design capable of optimizing the output of IoT enabled devices offers are endless. Such devices can be used to record crucial details such as the medicine intake, and the vital signs of the patients, and thereby assist the treatment procedure.
A wireless design for any hospital’s IT infrastructure should ideally be designed keeping the following factors in mind:
- Bandwidth requirement of the in-house devices:Currently, the use of wireless network is largely limited to EHRs. However, Wi-Fi enabled insulin pumps and glucose monitors are examples of some devices which are being introduced in hospitals overseas and India is set to follow suit. The importance of a comprehensive wireless design cannot be overstated as wireless medical equipment are the future of the healthcare industry because they can vastly reduce manual labour and its costs. Apart from the medical equipment, other devices which can benefit from becoming Wi-Fi enabled are coffee machines and water purifiers.
Also, take into account the in-house devices which are owned by the hospital and hospital staff.
- Bandwidth requirement of the guests:The internet usage of hospital guests has undergone various changes over the years. Earlier, the usage included casually surfing the internet but now the visitors expect a quick and consistent internet connection which will enable them to stream videos, play games and indulge in other data-exhaustive leisure activities. Therefore, it is very important to maintain a separate network for official and functional purposes of the hospital and a separate network for the visitors. It is also advisable to set a cap on the data being offered to the guests to prevent incurring high overall costs. Nowadays, visitors in hospitals expect a good Wi-Fi connection anywhere and everywhere in your establishment. Therefore, it is important to strategically place wireless access points throughout the building to ensure seamless access to the internet.
It is equally important to keep in mind the security of your network as hospitals cannot afford to undergo data breaches, because of the patients’ privacy and due to the sensitivity of the information. It is recommended that you ask your IT department to adhere to the latest security trends and ensure that your hospital’s software and hardware systems are regularly updated and optimized. It is also imperative that you set role-based access in your wireless network to ensure that only the intended personnel get access to the potentially sensitive and confidential information on the hospital’s database.
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