Hospital goes to patient

Wireless technology will let Auckland's new hospital take clinical applications to wherever the patient is.

Wireless technology will let Auckland’s new hospital take clinical applications to wherever the patient is.

“We’ve been trialling it at the Starship and one of the key things is to make sure we deploy it as is appropriate,” says Auckland DHB CIO Steven Mayo-Smith.

"The purpose of the trial was to see how we could use wireless and what its applications are. It involved seeing how wireless might extend the range of Pacs, a radiography pictures application; and Cream, a clinical records program.

“Wireless would allow us to deploy those applications far more openly, as it has potential use in terms of having information by the patient’s bed, or where they’re being treated.”

At the new hospital, wireless-enabled areas will include the emergency department and short-stay unit and later, possibly, for bedside patient registration.

That means making ensuring security, an area where many wireless LANs are lacking, is up to scratch.

A hospital is a relatively open environment, says Mayo-Smith.

“And we’ve been working with Microsoft, Cisco and others to make sure we have full security.”

Looking further into the future, tablet PCs will offer the hospital a lot, he says.

“We’re still waiting for the right applications, but with the combination of the tablet and wireless capability, you have a powerful platform for the deployment of new technology.”

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