WLAN Solutions for Hospitals

Reliable hospital Wi-Fi networks are now mission critical. In hospitals, assisted living, and medical centers, Wi-Fi networks are deployed to support:

  • Electronic Health Records (EHR)
  • Wireless Medical Devices
  • Workstations on Wheels
  • Communications Badges
  • Newborn and Patient Location Tracking

Wi-Fi networks are often asked to provide reliable connectivity to support life-critical applications which affect patient care. Interference, poor performing access points and an influx of doctor-owned devices along with constant changes in the RF environment, make it difficult to prevent or troubleshoot Wi-Fi problems.

Doctors, nurses, and clinicians grow frustrated when they experience Wi-Fi network delays and slow throughput because it hampers productivity and their ability to serve patients. IT professionals routinely react to these complaints wasting both time and money trying to find the best solution.

Akron Children’s Hospital Boosts Wi-Fi Performance, Patient Care

Challenge

Akron Children’s Hospital, the largest pediatric hospital in Northeast Ohio, is expanding their use of Wi-Fi in the hospital by implementing new applications, supporting new devices and larger user populations. Tom Ogg, the CIO at Akron Children’s Hospital was tasked with the mission to deploy their electronic medical records system (Epic).

Hospital operations included 360 beds, 1,000 wireless access points and over 800 wireless client device connections running critical hospital wireless applications and terminals such as IV pumps, VoIP call badges, Workstations on Wheels, tablets, access to electronic medical record and billing systems, and guest networks. The number of medical Wi-Fi devices used for patient care purposes was expected to triple within 2 years and continue growing rapidly in the future.

Solution

7SIGNAL provided its solution for proactive hospital Wi-Fi performance management, allowing the IT staff to see and understand how the hospital Wi-Fi network was serving their needs and meeting their service level agreements from the user’s perspective.

With this additional capability, Akron Children’s could now improve the hospital Wi-Fi network performance to better meet requirements for delivering exceptional patient care, as well as support mission critical applications and wireless medical devices. The system was initially deployed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the Emergency Department (ED) and one remote clinical facility.

Results

The team from Akron Children’s Hospital implemented corrective actions on these areas to improve Wi-Fi network performance and end user experience. The initial optimization phase delivered the following impact:

  • Throughput increased by up to 110%
  • Packet losses reduced by 80%
  • Retransmissions reduced over 50%
  • End-to-end network delays reduced by 35%
  • Client’s ability to receive access point beacons increased by 20%

After being initially deployed in the NICU, ED and remote clinical locations, and with the upcoming Epic electronic medical record deployment, it was determined that the improved Wi-Fi network performance implemented in the three areas of the hospital were still insufficient for the planned rapid growth in device count, new applications and traffic volume growth. The decision was made to install 7SIGNAL in all critical clinical areas of the hospital and five remote medical facilities, as well as upgrade and optimize their Wi-Fi network to support new 802.11 standards.

Link to this page to see a description of the essential 7SIGNAL operational principles from a HIPAA requirements perspective.

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Children's Hospital - Full Case Study

A Midwest hospital found and fixed numerous Wi-Fi issues with 7SIGNAL and use it for ongoing Wi-Fi assurance in the hospital.

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