The world is going wireless and enterprises are starting to catch up, particularly in the healthcare industry. Wireless local area network (WLAN) is a managed wireless network that connects multiple devices within a defined area (such as a hospital or a house etc).

Technology is getting more and more prevalent in the healthcare industry and its role is a crucial one and although it has advanced remarkably, there needs to be a distinct shift to incorporate its full functionalities.

The advantages of a wireless LAN are many

Not only does it help keep costs down significantly by replacing hardware and expensive software systems (plus having wires and cables onsite provide a significant OH&S hazard and run the risk of being damaged) but it dramatically improves efficiency and level of care and services, thanks to real time and centralised data. This directly benefits individual patients and service seekers and is said to be a major contributing factor in disease control and better global health outcomes.

WLAN functions twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, to match the needs of most healthcare enterprises, particularly hospitals. Mobile, medical and other portable devices need to be connected wherever they are in the vicinity, without coverage being compromised, to suit workflow habits and employees’ activity. Managed wireless LAN supports in limiting gaps, dead zones and interference.

Many healthcare facilities enjoy that it’s more straightforward to monitor externally or internally via a web browser, so your IT professionals can easily manage and troubleshoot without coming onsite. This saves lots of time and money whilst resulting in faster solutions and prevents long periods of inactivity or outages.

One of the best things about a WLAN system is that as your organisation increases in size and capabilities, so too can your network without hassle or excessive infrastructure. It also means isolated access for guests and visitors, so that it can be managed separately from the enterprise’s main network, improving connectivity to the outside world and providing low cost entertainment options for patients, wayfinding tools to help people navigate the organisation and telemedicine functions.

Savvy enterprises that want to take advantage of convergence within their offices and branches are looking more and more towards strong networks that allow uncompromised internet, location based services and data occupants of building or guests.

How the future of healthcare is being shaped

Fully tech integrated hospitals and other health services are not just the future, they are becoming a thing of the present and is nearly a twelve billion dollar industry in Australia. This means boundless medical advances and technology such as smart beds, improved and more responsive machinery, biomedical devices, physiological monitors, mobile medical apps and MRI/CT/ultrasound scanners.

Reliable WiFi networks also pave the way for significant technological developments and systems such as wireless body sensor networks and wearable tech, multisensory data fusion methods (such as cuffless blood pressure meter, ECG and PPG sensors) smartphone based care, chip systems and tele home monitoring and home medicine box based systems and even smart health monitoring chairs.

We’ve already started to see telemedicine being adopted internationally in the past few years and now it’s going to become more widespread and utilised. Six per cent of annual hospitalisations (as at 2014) are considered potentially preventable. With some of these telemedicine devices and systems, this number will significantly reduce freeing up hospital resources even more.

The collection and distribution of data will play a fundamental role in healthcare, science and research developments and will move the industry, cures and treatments forward in a big way. WLAN will play a huge part in facilitating this; making it easier for staff, patients, service users to upload, store and disseminate their personal information and medical history in real time.

This will result in notably reduced costs by improving waiting time, staff resources, streamlining systems and work practices; not only the patients’ schedules, but the health care providers and staff as well. Hospitals comprise nearly 40 percent of the government healthcare budget in Australia, so it’s vital we improve and innovate where we can to allow for optimal spend. Some of the more everyday benefits will see that devices can easily be located and isolated within the organisation which can save staff unnecessary time trying to find it and setting up.

Overall, wireless LAN will play a pivotal role in supporting a number of substantial industry progressions which will see a reduction in medical errors, create cohesive medical and health records and data to elevate the level of healthcare that individuals receive. Essentially, it means there will be faster response times, more accurate diagnosis, treatment and care plans as well as promising research.

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