Hospital and Clinical Care wireless networks have two major differences from most other types of wireless enterprise networks. First, they are considered mission critical, meaning that most of the business conducted over them can radically alter the quality of life and the delivery of critical patient care. Second, they need to be highly secure. There is a large amount of information transmitted over these networks that is required by the Federal Government as well as many state, local and non-profit regulatory agencies like The Joint Commission (formerly JCAHO) to comply with HIPPA requirements and be kept confidential.
These differences are no secret - yet most of the information about the correct way to design and manage networks in healthcare is based on the same design principles as any large corporate network. Most wireless network architects are not focused specifically in healthcare, therefore unaware of a medical grade network’s unique requirements.
When designing a hospital wireless network, the entire ecosystem of a hospital should be considered and taken as a whole and not merely as a sum of its parts, including:
• Physical Building Considerations - This can be the most challenging of any of the areas of consideration due to the way those hospitals; especially older hospitals have been built.
• End User Considerations - In today’s hospitals almost everyone wants to use the wireless network. It is surprising how many of these users are not taken into account when providing performance baselines for the network design.
• Device Considerations - There are a whole array of devices that use the wireless network, both fixed and mobile and they all have an effect on how the network performs.
• Network Use Considerations - One of the factors that needs to be considered is how the wireless network affects the overall performance of the rest of the network.
By taking into account all of the areas that are mentioned above and by properly planning the layout and design of the hospital or clinical network so that the entire ecosystem is considered during the design - a quality and scalable enterprise-wide wireless network can be implemented.