A new study, conducted by HIMSS, identifies that 5 wireless challenges are facing by the IT executives when integrating wireless application in a hospitals.
The researchers used two focus group, ranging from large urban health systems i.e. 1000+-bed to small rural organizations i.e. 100-bed, for March study.
From this study HIMSS suggested that one third of US hospitals are using wireless applications to manage database of patients. Following are the five major challenges:
1) Physical connectivity – Researchers concluded that the physical connectivity is a key challenge in the use of wireless network for the management of healthcare facilities. Participants identified that they were facing signal problem in ground/lower floor. Also in steel-encased buildings with glazed windows were causing the limited access of wireless signals. Moreover, similar problem was also cited by participants, in hospital or healthcare center which is surrounded by unfavorable terrains such as mountains.
To solve this problem, researcher suggested that organizational should use technologies such as
· Universal repeaters
· Distributed Antenna System (DAS)
· Survival Remote Gateways (SRGs)
· Virtual Private Network (VPN)
2) Technology connectivity issues. Second major concern suggested by researcher was Technology Connectivity Issues. In this issue participant founded the limited bandwidth availability that bounded clinician to access patient information. Participants said this issue also happens from the new addition of applications to the network that usually operate in a proprietary atmosphere.
This problem can be solved by using following techniques.
· Adding access points and segmenting networks.
· Bound the bandwidth of guest network.
· Upgrade environment that can accept multiple versions of 802.11 standards.
3) Meeting user demand. According to the study, another concern is that hospital administration tries to meet the users demand by improving productivity with unusual alternatives such as purchase a technology that IT department cannot support. Rather than solving the problem these steps further aggravate the problem.
That is why there should be clear legislation/policy statement on which IT department can support.
4) Security considerations. Participants are also extremely concerned with the security problems that affect the wireless environment itself. To manage this issue, professionals should implement security protocols i.e. single sign-on.
Participants had also high-lighted the issue of laptop stolen. Therefore organizations are suggested to use centralized device software that deny the access of network for stolen devices.
5) Network management issues. The study suggested that IT experts can analyzed their performance by number of complaints they receive at help desk. It is better to use the proactive approach, that is identify the problem before it come in the knowledge of users. Therefore organization should hire a staff that daily checks the IT system to identify the hidden problem. After identifying quickly take some steps to rectify the problem.