I recently paid a visit to the Aruba ANZ Atmosphere conference at Jupiter's on the Gold Coast. As an Aruba event, the natural focus was on mobility and WiFi with some LAN and Cloud thrown in for good measure.
The conference was great - the right mix of technical, without too much marketing hype - as an engineer it's nice to get immersed in some real technological discovery, and this conference had just that!
Amongst all the technical sessions were some ‘Tech Playgrounds’. This gives the visitor a chance to get down and dirty with some hands-on demonstrations. At IPTel Solutions, we do a lot of work in the Healthcare sector, so it was interesting to see new technologies in this industry vertical.
Great to see George Stefanick at the conference - always interesting to hear George speak!
Walking round the Tech Playground, one particular product called Oneview, caught my eye. The mission is to present a dashboard of entertainment to the bed bound patients.
At first glance, it’s a patient entertainment system.
The demonstration offered to me allows a patient to surf the internet, make a phone call, watch a movie, or order their next meal.
But there are more interesting new uses such as the ability to learn more about the staff treating you, or when they last saw you (it’s not unusual for a patient to be oblivious to a doctor’s visit due to shift patterns, etc), or targeted information relevant to a patient’s condition. Interesting stuff from a patients point of view.
If the right connections are in place to a hospital’s PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System), it’s possible to pull up an X-Ray, CT scan or ultrasound image. The hospital and clinicians can decide which images are allowed to be released in this way, but greater understanding and education on the patient’s part can only enhance trust.
Patient confidentiality is obviously paramount, so it was a surprise to find out that the only login credentials required are the patients name and date of birth. This conjures up an awkward image of Fred celebrating his birthday in the corner of a ward, while the surrounding patients are deeply engrossed in studying his afflictions!
Guest Access: Considerations
Having recently been involved in the roll out of wireless guest access at a large medical organisation myself, it was apparent that there was a dichotomy of opinion in regard to the guest access business requirements, or rather, the end product.
While provision of a wireless guest access solution is relatively straightforward and quite common nowadays, the technical implications quickly escalate when there are customer requirements for food ordering services, navigational floor plans, patient prescription reminders, or high bandwidth media streaming, to name but a few.
Hospitals each have their own way of doing things, have their own budgets, own expectations, and limited local IT support staff. Guest access quite frequently is tunneled back to a central point in an organisation to allow the traffic to be filtered through a single firewall. This might be more problematic for food ordering, or pulling up medical images. There are clearly some background network design tasks to be undertaken.
The hurdles are likely to be much greater in the administration side of the business though - determining which PACS images, or system access or staff details patients could access could be a minefield.
Bandwidth consumption, QoS, access control, operational management and support issues are all major considerations for any guest service - and much more so when streaming movies and other content.
With the increasing move towards mobility, it will not be long before doctors are glued to their tablets as much as patients are glued to their screens. One thing is certain though, once the technical challenges are overcome, the days of the clipboard at the end of the bed are truly numbered!
However, one thing remains true: For long term patients a patient entertainment system, easy access to the internet and the choice to order which food item they'd like and when - these have to all be things which help to make long term patients life more bearable, so this is a great step forward in that space. IPTel handle a large of industries for Wi-Fi implementation, if you wish to inquire on how to improve your Wi-Fi design please contact us.