Wireless Networking

Wireless' strength and flexibility are on full display at HIMSS 2006. Visitors can examine a variety of options to help them make the most of wireless infrastructure. There are souped up laptops and tablets that deliver the promise of mobile computing. And be sure to check out mobile carts for docking and transporting units. Hardware is just the starting point. New solutions like wireless RFID, charge capture and scheduling systems enable healthcare enterprises to reap the full workflow and patient care benefits of wireless technology.

Alcatel (booth #424) is demonstrating an integrated communications and networking solution to advance communication and improve workflow for healthcare personnel and highlighting its product portfolio.  

Alcatel's portfolio includes an integrated voice, data, video and wireless communication solution package aimed at delivering timely and cost-efficient care to patients.

Foliage Software Systems (booth #5201) is publishing a whitepaper titled "Navigating the Integration and Interoperability Rapids" at the meeting.

The whitepaper defines the difference between integration and interoperability, provides a best practices approach to integration and interoperability and outlines necessary steps for avoiding the pitfalls of a misaligned strategy.  

Humanscale Healthcare (booth #6111) is launching the T5 Point-of-Care Technology Cart.

The cart is designed for PCs, tablet PCs and notebook computers and facilitates mobile computing in healthcare environments. The T5 meets ergonomic requirements for 95 percent of users in both sitting and standing applications. The stable, aesthetic cart offers easy adjustment and a small footprint. Its lightweight, push/pull handles accessible from all sides, and casters designed to cross both hard and carpeted floor surfaces, make the T5 an easy to move technology cart. The cart offers separate height adjustments for the work surface, keyboard support and display. The keyboard tray and mouse surface incorporate an adjustable keyboard system for optimal comfort and ease-of-use. It offers a 0 to 15 degree keyboard tilt for low-risk keying posture, an easily adjustable mouse surface for left or right-handed users and a Technogel palm support with wipeable, anti-microbial cover.

A security system locks all computer equipment to protect against theft, and the unit is designed to provide superior spill protection for notebooks. Front locking casters offer additional safety and security. The T5's internal power system provides reliable mobility. Optionally available with a 26 amp/hour battery for laptops or a 40 amp/hour battery for PCs, the T5 supports eight or more hours of continuous use. The built-in lockable storage unit for an optional lithium battery is enhanced with a visible power gauge. The 40 amp/hour PC version comes with four AC outlets and two DC outlets, with variable output from 3 to 20 volts per outlet. The retractable power cable system is available for easy charging and cord management. Additionally, the power system is readily accessible for easy replacement.

InnerWireless, Inc. (booths #4851, 7848) is unveiling InnerWireless RF (radio frequency) location system technology.

InnerWireless RF technology facilitates rapid adoption by hospitals because virtually no data or power cables are pulled when installing the system - making installation simple, fast, scalable, and minimizing infection control issues. Both tags and RF infrastructure are optimized using the 802.15.4 wireless communications standard, thus avoiding the IP address proliferation that piggybacking on the hospitals' existing 802.11 wireless data networks would cause. The location system delivers short-term ROI with improved asset utilization (less lost/misplaced equipment, and less "over-buying" of assets to cover that shortfall) and provides ongoing VOI (voice over internet) by integrating with workflow optimization solutions (matching medical equipment with the clinicians and patients who need it). It uses the open wireless 802.15.4 standard to provide untethered RF infrastructure and includes tags with healthcare optimized functions, form factors and long battery life.

Meru Networks (booth #3949) is unveiling Meru Security Services Module, a wireless security solution that protects wireless networks at the radio frequency (RF) signal level. The software module works in combination with Meru's wireless LAN product portfolio and brings advanced security for wireless LANs delivering mission-critical applications. The Meru Security Services Module includes Meru's AirShield Technology and uses advanced micro-scanning, radio scrambling and transmission jamming techniques to ensure military-grade, radio frequency security for any enterprise. In addition, Meru's Security Services Module conducts its scanning without disrupting network services. The Meru Security Services Module functions as part of Meru's System Director operating system and is installed on the Meru WLAN System's Controller. As such, the Module can be used in conjunction with Meru Access Points or Meru Radio Switches.

PatientKeeper, Inc. (booth #1218) is showcasing PatientKeeper, a mobile application for physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

The PatientKeeper application electronically captures and documents charges and automatically verifies accuracy and completeness. PatientKeeper Charge Capture streamlines charge capture by allowing physicians to select from personalized lists of professional services and procedures on handheld devices. The administrative staff no longer needs to transcribe the charges from paper or manually check for missing information. Rule checking appropriate to the practitioner's specialty helps ensure that accurate charges are captured and complete bills are produced. In addition, detailed charge reports help identify missing charges. The system also features multiple layers of sophisticated rule checking; personalizable picklists and rules to support a variety of specialties; support for PDAs, Smart Phones, tablets and desktop computers and browser-based reporting and management tools for the administrative staff.

Spacelabs Medical (booth #2537) is announcing the availability of a wireless networking option for its UltraviewSL compact monitors.

The wireless solution is capable of operating on a hospital's existing wireless infrastructure while coexisting with other wireless applications. The UltraviewSL 2400 wireless monitor is designed to meet customer needs for ease of use and compatibility with 802.11b. Spacelabs is introducing a field upgrade kit to enable existing UltraviewSL compact monitors to operate in a wireless environment.

Wireless monitoring enhances patient safety and emergency response capabilities. In addition, wireless connectivity allows for continued, seamless collection of patient data into Spacelabs' Intesys Clinical Suite (ICS) of network applications, helping minimize interruptions in automated documentation. The UltraviewSL 2400 wireless monitor has full network compatibility with all existing Spacelabs UltraviewSL, Ultraview and PCMS central and bedside monitors.

Vocera (booth #5801) is showing its Nuance Voice Platform, Xtend scheduling and Emergin Orchestrator.

Nuance Voice Platform allows caregivers to use voice commands to verbally request information from medical records or other databases to streamline work processes. A caregiver can access specific information from a health information system, request lab results or input data using voice access.

Xtend scheduling system provides immediate management of Vocera call lists to streamline patient response times when shifts change for onsite and off-site personnel. As on-call assignments change, the Xtend system updates the Vocera call lists, so calls are routed to the correct individuals. This reduces the time to manually look up on-call personnel, which streamlines patient care response.

Emergin Orchestrator integrates with an external staff management application to ensure immediate response. As assignments change in settings where patient monitoring and telemetry messages are crucial, the integration of these two applications allows the caregiver who is newly assigned to beds/patients to be immediately in tune with their needs.