Wireless Technology
The unwiring of healthcare continues. And vendors are there every step of the way. At HIMSS, healthcare and IT professionals can take in everything from the latest wireless network technology, which boasts increased security, bandwidth and flexibility to the latest tools that allow healthcare institutions to maximize their investment in wireless network - either by increasing workflow or enhancing patient care. Here's a sample of what's in store in Dallas.

Bluesocket, Inc. (booth #1207) is showcasing its family of Wireless Gateways.

Bluesocket's Wireless Gateways offer centralized enterprise class Wi-Fi control and security, including encryption (PPTP, IPsec) and network management features such as role-based access control, bandwidth throttling, authorization/ authentication; Secure MobilityT (lets users roam securely across subnets without need to re-authenticate). The single component solution needs no client software and is truly interoperable, supporting all flavors of 802.11, as well as extending and integrating legacy networking equipment (such as Cisco) with wireless infrastructure.

Hewlett-Packard (booth #4436) is highlighting its portfolio of healthcare solutions at HIMSS.

The company is demonstrating how the integration of HP solutions, technologies, IT services and partnerships helps healthcare organizations gain greater access to and manage medical information to improve the quality of care. This includes demonstrations of forms automation, mobility, RFID, HP's StorageWorks products, business critical servers and ePrescribing solutions.

IBM Health Care, Life Sciences (booth #4613) and Pharma is demonstrating IBM WebSphere Business Integration for Middleware Solution.

WebSphere enables transmission of data that can help enhance patient care and safety and reduce medical errors, especially in the area of adverse drug events. The IBM WebSphere Business Integration for Healthcare Collaborative Network (WBI for HCN) is an interconnected, electronic health information network infrastructure that supports fast and secure healthcare data collaboration across multiple stakeholders and applications. The software helps reduce reporting burdens and technical integration costs and supports the process to improve the quality of care delivered to patients. This can result in reduced medical errors and improved response time to health events by moving from a paper-based system to a shared information exchange.

HCN integrates key clinical data from disparate applications allowing open standards-based exchange, simplifying/automating adverse event detection and enabling faster and easier aggregation and analysis of information for quality of care management. The outsourced data exchange hub allows participants to easily exchange information in a standards-based manner, thereby lowering operational costs while improving visibility and flexibility.

Meru Networks (booth #48) is showcasing the Meru WLAN system. Meru WLAN is built from the ground up to deliver the reliability, scalability and security for voice and data services over a single WLAN infrastructure. The Meru WLAN System features Meru's Air Traffic Control technology, which provides predictable bandwidth and over-the-air, application-specific QoS to support bandwidth-intensive, real-time applications of healthcare environments such as multi-megabyte video files and voice over IP.

preciss, llc. (booth #7256) is highlighting PAL (Personal Assisted Languages), a wireless, mobile, video conferencing service that connects hospital personnel in real-time to an on-demand video interpreter for virtually every language spoken. By utilizing an advanced and medically approved wireless system in the hospital, each PAL unit can be moved freely to any patient's bedside for an immediate interpretation. Each PAL unit has a 17-inch flat video screen and camera that can access an interpreter with a push of a button, connecting medical personnel to a video operator who will direct the video call to the appropriate language. The system can reduce hospital costs by upwards of 20 percent for interpretative services, improve the patient experience by removing the wait time for the interpreter, improve the efficiency of the hospital by having an on-demand system that helps them increase the patient load, turning over more beds and increasing hospital revenue and provide a greater coverage of languages, the company said.

QRS Diagnostic (booth #1303) is showing its SpirOxCard, SpiroCard, OxiCard and Universal ECG.

SpirOxCard allows users to perform spirometry and oximetry testing by simply sliding the PCMCIA card into an electronic appliance and using QRS software to begin recording and analyzing the tests. SpiroCard does the same for spirometry testing.

OxiCard allows users to complete oximetry testing by sliding the CF card into the electronic appliance and using QRS software to begin recording and analyzing the tests.

Universal ECG is a small and light 12-channel ECG. Universal ECG displays all data on-screen for quick assessment.

SBC Communications (booth #6040) is showcasing healthcare solutions in the areas of telemedicine, mobility, clinical alarm alerting, infrastructure design and wireless solutions. Demos include the Tandberg 1500 and Intern II, SpectraLink's Wireless Telephone System for Healthcare, Cisco IP Phones, AMD Medical Devices, Polycom video solutions and Emergin's clinical alarm alerting capabilities. 

SpectraLink Corp. (booth #7155) is introducing a small, light full-featured Wi-Fi handset.

The new handset is designed specifically for healthcare applications with enhanced durability, advanced calling features and integration with hospital communication systems. It provides high-quality mobile voice communication with all the privacy and capabilities of wired telephone sets. In addition, SpectraLink's Open Application Interface (OAI) supports text messaging and voice integration with nurse call, patient monitoring and other hospital systems. The new healthcare handset uses Wi-Fi wireless LAN technology, allowing converged voice and data applications over a single wireless infrastructure.

Spotwave Wireless Inc. (booth #13) is highlighting SpotCell indoor wireless coverage systems that seamlessly bring the outdoor signal inside - ensuring the wireless devices used in healthcare facilities work reliably indoors where they are being used the most. The solution is designed for healthcare organizations looking to quickly and cost-effectively enhance indoor wireless connectivity in specific locations ranging from 5,000 to 100,000 sq. ft. Products are carrier-specific to ensure the best signal integrity, supporting CDMA, GSM and iDEN technologies and all carriers operating in North America. Once installed, SpotCell systems require no maintenance or adjustments and are guaranteed to maintain signal integrity under a broad range of conditions. SpotCell maximizes the IT investment in wireless technology by ensuring wireless devices can actually be used indoors; provides immediate access to medical records, benefiting both patients and doctors; expedites response time of healthcare workers in emergency situations; makes specific areas "wireless friendly" without compromising critical medical devices and ensures security and safety for staff, patients and visitors in areas like stairwells and parking garages.

Vocera Communications (booth #4155) is unveiling its new software upgrade. The company also is showing two new software extensions designed to increase the power of the system: the new Vocera Messaging Interface and the Vocera Reports Server.

Vocera 3.0 offers enhanced speech recognition, a new messaging interface software and a new report server module which allows customers to analyze system usage patterns and call flows. The new upgrades and modules are designed to facilitate workflow and expedite nurse-patient communications to make nursing unit operations more efficient and lead to an improved patient experience. New speech recognition features create a personal "inner circle" with a defined set of users, groups, and address book entries based on the user's past calling activity. This "buddy list" improves accuracy of future calls. Additionally, users can call a person by spelling the first or last name of the person, which can help a user with a difficult to pronounce name.

The Vocera Messaging Interface (VMI) module is a programming interface that enables two-way messaging between the Vocera Communications System and third-party applications, such as nurse call systems, patient monitoring systems and supply management systems. VMI allows messages to be delivered immediately to the appropriate caregiver and allows them to respond more quickly to patient needs.

The Vocera Reports Server software module provides reporting tools that enable system administrators to monitor usage patterns and call flows. This is an efficient way to determine the best time for maintenance and updates, analyze group, department and address book usage, identify feature use patterns, and identify users in need of additional training.

Wireless Interactive Medicine Inc. (WIMcare, booth #7001) is showcasing its Ubiquitous Location Tracking (ULT) System and MediExpress RIS and CIS.

ULT locates doctors, patients, assets and medical facility visitors using Wearable devices. The ULT system can track both indoors and outdoors by utilizing a tri-band communication network. This allows Wearable devices to be tracked seamlessly as they pass into different communication networks. The Wearable's location also can be used to route associated biometric, telemetric, security, medical and protocol data.

The ULT solution is used to improve patient and clinician safety, increase the quality of patient care and enhance accessibility for people of all levels of mobility. The technology ensures critical assets such as cardio carts and infusers can be found immediately within a busy multi-floor complex in order to save lives.

MediExpress Single and Multi-site RIS and CIS are wireless systems with a worklist manager for patient case load. Both systems are designed to increase clinician productivity, provide an electronic patient chart, facilitate paperless medicine with audit trails and medical protocols, reduce transcriber or treatment errors and improve cash flow with immediate transaction processing to the billing system. The RIS and CIS run on devices with operating systems, including cell phones.