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Delivering Mobile Point of Care with Pervasive Wireless Networks

Created on: Oct 6, 2010 5:19 PM by William Lea - Last Modified:  Oct 6, 2010 5:25 PM by William Lea

1. Executive Summary

Everything in a hospital is in constant motion. This includes hospital  personal, equipment and patients. Access to patient information by healthcare  professionals at the point of patient care is critical to improving patient  safety. Physicians and nurses move between patients reviewing, documenting and  delivering care. They require instant access to a comprehensive set of unique  data and decision-making tools for each patient. Bedside point of care data  delivery is a major driver in reducing the number of yearly clinician errors.  Lack of immediate access to patient information contributes to at least one  fifth of the deaths occurring annually in US hospitals as a result of  preventable medical errors, according to a report by HealthGrades, an  independent healthcare ratings company.


Data must be mobile to accommodate the spectrum of care delivery. Wireless  networks enable physicians and nurses to work more efficiently and effectively  in their natural workflow. With mobile enabled electronic medical record (EMR)  applications, wireless networks allow secure and instant access to patient  charts, medication administration records, terminology, coding, etc. without  leaving the bedside. Errors are reduced, decisions are made more quickly, and  quality of care is increased. At El Camino Hospital in California, the number of  errors per 1000 patient days dropped from six to four following the  implementation of electronic medical records and a WLAN.1 In the  United Kingdom, staff at the George Eliot Hospital admitted to saving up to four  hours per week after they were given wireless access to hospital and patient  information.


New advances in mobile infrastructure and healthcare applications now deliver  powerful and flexible capabilities for hospitals to improve patient care quality  and safety, reduce the cost of delivering services, enhanced clinical  productivity, and streamline workflow. This white paper provides the key best  practices for deploying clinical wireless networks to support mobile point of  care solutions.


  • Mobilizing healthcare applications
  • Ensuring mobility with pervasive wireless connectivity
  • Securing privacy and confidential information
  • Designing mobile infrastructures for healthcare
  • Managing mobile clients
  • Leveraging mobile infrastructures with context-based services


By presenting advances in wireless technologies, products, and standards,  this white paper challenges perceptions that currently prevent many healthcare  organizations from capturing the tangible benefits of pervasive wireless  networks. This paper draws on the extensive experience of Cisco and Intel in  leading new advances in mobile infrastructure and application support within  healthcare.

2. Mobilizing Healthcare Applications

The rapid growth and adoption of mobile devices and applications in other  industries have spurred a large number of healthcare software vendors to enable  their applications for mobile platforms such as notebook computers, tablet  computers, or personal digital assistants (PDAs).


As hospital adoption of electronic medical record (EMR) applications  increases and replaces workflows previously based on manual paper processes, the  benefits of having mobile access to critical data and tools at the point of care  become increasingly apparent. More and more new mobile applications become  available each year across a number of acute care segments.


Medication administration is one area where significant advantages have been  measured through the use of mobile platforms. EMR applications for mobile acute  care operations workflow require flexibility and resilience. They must be  flexible enough to access and present data to clinicians based on the context  and location of the workflow. They must also be able to operate in a connected  or non-connected mode. In the rare case that there are short periods of  connectivity disruption, these applications must allow clinicians to continue  their work until connectivity is restored. E-mail client applications are a good  example of connection aware applications that allow users to read and write  e-mail when a connection is lost, and will restore sessions and synchronize  mailboxes once connectivity is reestablished. As the demand for mobility  continues to rise, EMR vendors will continue to enable an increasing number of  their applications to support mobile interfaces and usages.

3. Supporting Mobility with Pervasive Wireless Connectivity

Pervasive connectivity inherent in wireless networks reshapes the work habits  and productivity of healthcare workers. Providing critical patient data and  decision support information at the point of care not only increases patient  safety, it also enhances quality of care, and improves healthcare productivity.  Medical personnel can tap into a pervasive wireless network using a wide-variety  of mobile devices from notebook computers and PDAs to telephones.

Wireless technology is credited with improving the flow of information  unfettered by the constraints of location or time. The impact of this has been  improved productivity and faster and more effective decision making. Healthcare  is embracing the promise of wireless with the expectation that the technology  will enable its employees to perform better. While studies (and common sense)  confirm the relationship between pervasive business wireless deployments and  improved employee productivity, wireless brings broader benefits.


The preference for mobility within healthcare can be seen by IT departments  from both top down (upper management) and bottom up (department users). Upper  management wants to improve care giver productivity, better access to  information, and improved accuracy for physicians and nurses. Physicians and  specialists want to work more effectively from any location, whether they are at  their desks, or any place within the acute care environment.


As the pervasiveness of wireless networking within the acute care environment  increases, so do the benefits. So compelling are the benefits of mobility that  within three to five years, all applications will be mobilized. In addition to  patient safety and medical personnel productivity gains, hospitals can take  advantage of a variety of new mobility services—such as location, voice, guest  access, and enhanced security—that allow healthcare organizations to reap  additional benefits from the network by adding a mobility element to existing  (and new) operational and clinical applications. Other examples of tangible  returns on investment in wireless applications include asset tracking  application based on active Wi-Fi asset tags to decrease the cost and time  associated with looking for and replacing high-value assets. Or deploying Voice  over IP on wireless networks adds the dimension of voice communication to data  at the mobile point of care.

3.1 Case Study: Beijing Tiantan Hospital

The Beijing Tiantan Hospital is a large Level III hospital in China, and one  of three largest neuronsurgery research centers in the world. The 1,000 bed  hospital was experiencing an increasing patient workload which was making its  paper-based patient record keeping process tedious for clinicians. Nurses  recorded patient data onto paper at the bed-side and later transcribed the notes  into the computer system when they had available time. Furthermore, Tiantan  Hospital’s network infrastructure was inadequate and inconvenient for clinicians  to access medical data at points of care, making data capture difficult.


To increase the efficiency of the process, Tiantan Hospital extended its  existing wired network with a Cisco® Unified Wireless Network which covered all  the required areas within the hospital. Doctors and nurses were equipped with a  Hewlett Packard wireless-enabled tablet PCs based on Intel® Centrino® mobile  technology and PDAs to enable instant access to patient data from any point of  care. Intel’s understanding of the needs of the healthcare environment helped  define Tiantan Hospital’s specifications in revamping its information  infrastructure to improve work processes and increase the efficiency of  clinicians.

The instant access to mobile data transformed work processes and allowed  clinicians more time to interact and provide healthcare for more patients.  Mobile data access helped clinicians alleviate routine tasks and provide access  to medical information at points of care, enabling them to provide better and  more personal quality medical treatment to patients.


Tiantan Hospital achieved impressive results with nurses freeing up to two  hours per day that could be devoted to caring for the than 700,000 patients they  see each year. Nurses completed their record keeping up to 25 percent  faster.


Intel and Cisco wireless technology solution delivered a cost-effective way  to wire up the hospital compared to conventional cabling, and provides the  hospital with networking scalability for the future.


Cisco and Intel Alliance

The strong Cisco Systems and Intel partnership focuses on improving the  business impact of technology. The Cisco Intel Alliance ( is the  vehicle for both companies to collaborate in specific technology areas for the  benefit of their mutual customers. The alliance provides:


  • Tangible business value for technology adoption
  • Business-class wireless networking solutions that seamlessly combine Intel®  Centrino® mobile technology clients with the Cisco® Unified Wireless  Network
  • Lower complexity of deployment and total cost of ownership (TCO) for  businesses implementing and managing a pervasive wireless network


4. Securing Healthcare Networks

Wireless network security in healthcare environments goes beyond firewalls  and anti-virus. Compliance with HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and  Accountability Act) demands data security over wireless networks. The wireless  transmission and storage of electronic patient data on mobile devices brings  about security and privacy concerns.


Security has consistently been one of the biggest concerns that healthcare IT  departments raise about networking. However, to put it into perspective, paper  charts pose their own significant security and privacy risks as they are left in  file folders, stacked in hallways or unattended at the nurses station. Certainly  both paper-based and electronic patient data pose their own respective security  and privacy risks, however great strides have been made towards wireless  security technologies that make electronic workflows less vulnerable. Wireless  security has made great advances over the past few years thanks to the efforts  of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) and the Wi-Fi  Alliance. New security standards like IEEE 802.11i and the Wi-Fi Alliance Wi-Fi  Protected Access 2 (WPA2) have emerged to match the robust protection previously  found only on wired networks.


Cisco and Intel continue to take the lead in these security standards bodies  to focus on delivering secure wireless solutions, as well as to provide products  designed to protect the healthcare organization against wireless security  threats. Cisco delivered the Cisco Compatible Extensions program, of which Intel  is a lead collaborator. Cisco Compatible Extensions incorporates the latest  security standards and innovative security solutions, including authentication  protocols like Extensible Authentication Protocol-Flexible Authentication via  Secure Tunneling (EAP-FAST).


The end result has been to dramatically improve the ability of the network to  automatically identify, prevent, and adapt to security threats. Every device in  the network—from clients to access points to wireless controllers and the  management system—plays a part in securing the wireless network environment  through a distributed defense.

4.1 Creating Multilayer Security

As with any network, a multilayered approach to security is required to  provide protection to any mobile solution. The following is a five-step approach  for mitigating risks to the network from wireless threats:


  1. Create a WLAN security policy.
  2. Secure the WLAN.
  3. Secure the wired (Ethernet) network against wireless threats.
  4. Defend the organization from external threats.
  5. Enlist employees in safeguarding the network.


The Cisco® Unified Wireless Network when deployed with Intel® Centrino®  mobile clients provides:


Secure Connectivity for WLANs—Strong dynamic encryption  keys that automatically change on a configurable basis to protect the privacy of  transmitted data. IT organizations can keep data safe with:

  • WPA-TKIP encryption enhancements such as MIC, per-packet keys via  initialization vector hashing, and broadcast key rotation
  • WPA2-AES the "gold standard" for data encryption v


Trust and Identity for WLANs—Robust WLAN access control  that helps to ensure that legitimate clients associate only with trusted access  points rather than rogue or unauthorized access points. It managers can keep the  client devices safe with:

  • Per-user, per-session, mutual authentication using IEEE 802.1X, a variety of  Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) types and a Remote Authentication  Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) or Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting  (AAA) server.
  • Support for RADIUS accounting records for all authentication  attempts.


Threat Defense for WLANs—Detection of unauthorized access,  network attacks and rogue access points via a robust Intrusion Protection System  (IPS), WLAN Network Access Center (NAC), and advanced location services. Keep  the client devices honest and protect the network with:

  • Cisco’s enterprise-class IPS that allows IT managers to continually scan the  RF environment, detect rogue access points and unauthorized events,  simultaneously track thousands of devices, and mitigate network attacks.
  • NAC for WLANs helps ensure that all wireless endpoint devices (such as PCs,  notebooks, and PDAs) accessing network resources are adequately protected from  security threats.


To protect the wired network from wireless threats, IT must also consider  threat control and containment. Wireless threat control and containment are  vitally important, especially in an era in which lack of threat control can lead  to violations of regulatory controls or legal statutes. Even a “no Wi-Fi” policy  is no guarantee of security against these threats without a comprehensive RF  monitoring solution. For example, rogue access points can be brought in by  employees, and notebook computers with embedded Wi-Fi can connect to neighboring  networks, which can create security holes.


In the Cisco® Unified Wireless Network, access points simultaneously act as  air monitors and data forwarding devices. All security threats are rapidly  identified and presented to network administrators where accurate analysis can  take place and corrective action can be taken.


If your company has a "no Wi-Fi" policy, you can deploy the Cisco® Unified  Wireless Network initially as a standalone wireless IPS, and later reconfigure  it to add WLAN data service. This scenario allows network managers to create a  "defense shield" around your RF domains, containing unauthorized wireless  activity until your organization is ready to deploy WLAN services.


When implemented correctly such as applying correct signal strength  attenuation and security schemes, monitored on a regular basis, and maintaining  best security practices, wireless networks can be as secure if not more secure  than a wired infrastructure. The misconception primarily stems from the fact  that IT administrators are more familiar with deploying a wired infrastructure.  Wired and wireless, for the most part, have the same security risks. The  exception is the physical layer but this can be circumvented.


By working together, both Intel and Cisco address such security  vulnerabilities—for example, by utilizing user profile rules for the Cisco®  Unified Wireless Network as well as the Intel® Centrino® mobile technology  client. Wireless network security is dramatically enhanced when both the access  point infrastructure and the client are locked down. The last thing IT wants to  worry about is clients roaming to rogue access points or a user setting up their  own ad hoc network to some other notebook computer or device.


Based on a multilayered approach to securing wireless networks, IT directors  can have confidence when deploying production-scale networks. Such an approach  ensures the integrity of the information passed over the wireless network and  maintains adequate barriers to protect internal resources.

Cisco and Intel Enhance Security

Cisco Systems and Intel have worked extensively to improve both the  robustness and manageability of wireless security. Both companies have:


  • Taken a leading role in the standards bodies
  • Delivered the Cisco Compatible Extensions program to bring the latest Wi-Fi  security standards to Wi-Fi devices
  • Provided customers with security standards such as LEAP and EAP-FAST
  • Committed to delivering improved security features such as management frame  protection


5. Designing Mobile Infrastructures for Healthcare

Wireless technology has vastly improved within the last few years. The Cisco®  Unified Wireless Network architecture now leads the way to a more robust  wireless deployment and centralized wireless network management. Cisco’s  solution delivers the capability to quickly and effectively deliver more  bandwidth to an acute care environment. Access points can be added or  repositioned based on new workload requirements and when new mobile applications  are introduced. With the right wireless deployment strategy, acute care  facilities can achieve a scalable and reliable wireless network.

A wireless deployment and support strategy involves the following  components:


  • Design
  • Deployment including site survey audit
  • Usage analysis
  • Access point placement
  • Wireless network and client management software


The design of the wireless network is the key step that will drive decisions  in the later steps. Each acute care environment is unique due the physician  applications, number of client devices, coverage requirements as well as the  physical layout and construction material of the facilities. The design must  also take into account sources of electromagnetic interference emitted from  various medical equipment, cell phones, and sources outside physical walls. A  proper design will help identify the appropriate wireless technologies to help  implement a robust and reliable acute care environment.


During the design process, IT should understand the reliability requirements  per usage. To investigate those requirements, the following considerations may  be helpful:


  • Voice and/or data applications
  • Level of roaming within the area e.g. between facilities, floors or  departments
  • Bandwidth requirements for specific applications
  • Number of unique mobile devices requesting access per facility


With these considerations, pre- and post-site surveys will help prolong the  livelihood and improve the reliability of the network. A certified, VAR (Value  Added Reseller) or SI (System Integrator) is recommended when deploying a  wireless infrastructure in a corporate environment. For challenging RF  environments such as those found in hospitals, Cisco® Advanced Services provides  extensive experience and expertise for planning and deploying voice over  wireless. Cisco® Advanced Services can help your customer at every stage of the  process, whether it is design, deployment or ongoing operations.


These services  can be particularly useful in Reducing TCO with faster deployment timelines,  increased staff productivity and improved ROI on network assets.


Their sole task is to assess the environment and build the infrastructure as  optimally as possible for the throughput and range required by the  consumer.2

The placement of access points within building structures is also an  important consideration which is often overlooked. Poor placement of access  points can lead to poor wireless network performance and reliability. The Cisco®  Unified Wireless Network management tool has an integrated planning tool which  simplifies the implementation of a wireless network. Cisco Wireless Control  System provides integrated RF prediction tools that can be used to create a  detailed wireless LAN design, including access point placement, configuration,  and performance/coverage estimates.


When wireless design has been properly conducted, other wireless technologies  can be employed in addition Wi-Fi to bring increased mobile access to data and  applications inside and outside of the acute care environment.

5.1 Case Study: New York Presbyterian Hospital

With 2,200 patient beds and 5,083 physicians, New York Presbyterian Hospital  (NYPH) is the largest hospital in New York and one of the most comprehensive  university hospitals in the world with leading specialists in every field of  medicine. As a leader in applying information technology to enhancing clinical  care, NYPH developed a state-of-the-art decision support system (DSS) for  physicians, to assist them in making treatment decisions. The DSS proved to be  so useful that physicians often lined up at a central workstation to use it.  NYPH wanted to enhance availability by providing mobile access to the DSS, as  well as to clinical data and other decision supporting applications.


As a first step, NYPH undertook a two-month pilot program called the  Mobile Medical Monitor (M3) — Developing an Information Age Tool for  Healthcare. The focus of the M3 pilot was to provide six physicians with  access to the DSS and other applications as they moved from floor to floor  around the hospital, as well as while away from the hospital. NYPH wanted to  better understand physician usage patterns, evaluate mobile device technologies,  and enhance the hospital’s network infrastructure to deliver reliable mobile  access before more widely deploying the solution.


Intel® Solution® Services provided on-site services throughout the pilot,  including monitoring clinicians in their daily workflows to determine usage  model scenarios, bringing together third-party vendors to address NYPH’s  networking and software challenges, and executing mobility test scenarios to  validate the business value of the wireless usage model.


The solution combined 802.11b/g wireless networking with CDMA2000  third-generation (3G) EvDO cellular service from Verizon*, and used NetMotion  Mobility XE* to transition users between the two environments.


The physicians were provided with lightweight tablet PCs with Intel®  Centrino® mobile technology for wireless access to patient data. Physicians who  participated in the pilot reported that mobile access to decision-support tools  and other applications enhanced their productivity and improved the quality of  care. The hospital is now moving toward large scale mobile deployment with plans  to bring additional applications into the mobile environment and extend the user  community to include nurses and other professionals.


NYPH expects its investments in wireless and cellular networking and Intel  technology-based tablets to enhance clinical decision making, improve patient  outcomes, enhance productivity, and reduce the costs of delivering top-quality  care.

(SOURCE: Adapted from Intel® Solution® Services: Hospitals Transform  Healthcare with mobile Computing Solutions.

6. Managing Mobile Clients

One of biggest changes in deploying wireless networks has been in client  management. The mobility of wireless clients presents IT departments with  increased complexity of managing clients to maintain the integrity and support  of the healthcare network. Intel® Centrino® mobile technology overcomes these  barriers.


Intel® Centrino® mobile technology includes built-in remote management  capabilities and powerful tools for IT departments to deploy and manage wireless  clients in the enterprise. By centrally managing end user wireless  configurations, IT departments minimize TCO (total cost of ownership) and  strengthen corporate wireless security policies. And because of tested  interoperability between Intel® Centrino® mobile technology clients and the  Cisco® Unified Wireless Network, wireless clients seamlessly integrate into  existing enterprise infrastructures.


Using the Intel® PROSet/Wireless Administrator Tool, IT departments can  create profiles with all the network access and enterprise-class security (WPA2,  802.11i and Cisco EAP-FAST authentication protocol) requirements to fully  control wireless clients within their environments. These advanced client  profiles ensure wireless clients comply with corporate policies when accessing  the corporate network. For wireless network users, the Intel® Centrino® mobile  technology client experience is secure and seamless. Wireless network  connectivity is streamlined with profiles that automatically connect to  specified in-range networks.


Complete client installation packages that include connection profiles,  driver and application software, security settings and more can be seamlessly  distributed using existing network software distribution tools. Using different  profiles, users also have the flexibility to connect to wireless networks  outside the enterprise.


“Lights-out” remote management support built into Intel® Centrino® mobile  technology notebook computers enable WLAN connections to be maintained even when  no user is logged in. Combined with Wake on WLAN (WoWLAN) support that allows  remote wake up of notebook computers, administrators can push critical security  updates and other software to keep clients in compliance with corporate network  policies.


The Cisco® Unified Wireless Network provides a variety of features to  decrease the complexity of wireless deployment and management. As enterprises  strive to decrease the complexity of management, having a unified management  view across all domains enhances the ability to maintain unified network  policies and detect and respond to alerts more quickly. A centralized management  solution reduces training costs and allows IT administrators to be more flexible  when managing Internet-working issues.


The wireless domain has a special set of characteristics that make managing  it more challenging than managing the wired network. These challenges relate to  the ever-changing nature of the wireless environment and the fact that most  healthcare organizations lack in-house RF expertise.


The Cisco® Unified Wireless Network takes the complexity out of RF management  by supporting a variety of RF-specific management tools such as dynamic channel  assignment; wireless interference mitigation, client load balancing, and power  transmit control. These tools provide visibility into the wireless network.  Using these tools, network managers can view performance, usage, availability,  and reliability statistics from a single interface across wired and wireless  networks. The combination of these features supports ongoing and automated site  survey services to help ensure that the wireless network provides optimal  coverage and capacity.

Cisco and Intel Lower Complexity

Cisco and Intel understand the complexities involved in deploying and  managing a business-class wireless network. The two companies have worked  together on the following solutions:


  • The Cisco Compatible Extensions program to provide simple interoperability  between wireless clients and infrastructure
  • A strong focus on quality assurance and testing to ensure stable and highly  available products
  • Automated configuration and deployment services such asRF site surveying and  client configuration for lower total cost of ownership


6.1 Intel Cisco Business Class Wireless Suite

The Intel-Cisco strategic alliance, based on a technology collaboration  called Business Class Wireless Suite ensures full capability between Intel®  Centrino® Duo mobile technology and Cisco® Unified Wireless Network products.  Business Class Wireless Suite contains innovative wireless features that provide  customers who use products from both Intel and Cisco with additional  interoperability. Business Class Wireless Suite Version 1.0 focuses on two core  areas: enhanced wireless VoIP support and smart access point selection  technology.

6.1.1 Supporting Wireless Voice over IP

Voice over IP (VoIP) delivers compelling advantages for healthcare  organizations to converge voice communications over their WLAN infrastructure to  reduce costs and improve communication efficiencies. Market estimates show voice  over IP (VoIP) clients are expected to grow 70 to 80 percent per year, while  VoIP use over wireless LAN is expected to grow 300 percent by 2007.


Working together and with third-party VoIP soft phone vendors, Intel and  Cisco deliver optimized mobile VoIP experiences with higher audio fidelity and  improved roaming capability during phone calls. By building specific  capabilities into the Intel® PROSet/Wireless driver such as wide-band codec  support and enhanced Cisco WLAN statistic support, the improved VoIP experience  is seamless to the end user. The unique APIs added to the Intel® PROSet/Wireless  driver relay enhanced WLAN statistics from the Cisco® Unified Wireless Network  to the third-party soft phone software. Enhanced WLAN statistics give soft phone  software greater flexibility in determining audio codec and roaming decisions,  resulting in a higher quality VoIP experience within an enterprise  environment.


By providing the underlying technologies for security, quality of service,  and improved voice codec’s, Cisco and Intel help healthcare IT departments  leverage their mobile users’ unique working environments to aggressively compete  in today’s marketplace.

6.1.2 Smart Access Point Selection

Another key feature of Business Class Wireless Suite v1.0 is the ability to  provide client and access point (AP) load balancing. Load balancing using  Business Class Wireless Suite improves client throughput and packet reliability,  and optimizes WLAN infrastructure investments. Clients typically associate with  an access point that has the strongest radio signal without regard to the  current AP throughput or packet retries. With Business Class Wireless Suite  Smart AP Selection technology, the client periodically gathers statistics from  the Cisco WLAN infrastructure to determine if a better connection with another  access point would increase throughput or reliability or both. For example, a  tight grouping of clients may all associate to the closest access point, even if  the access point is overwhelmed with network traffic. With Business Class  Wireless Suite, an Intel Centrino Duo mobile technology notebook computer could  see that more distant access point would give better throughput based upon the  statistics received from the Cisco WLANinfrastructure.

7. Leveraging Mobile Infrastructures with Context-Based Services

A wireless network is not just for data, but can also be used for location  and a wide range of mobility services. Using a WLAN as a converged network – one  that is capable of carrying voice, video and application data – delivers a  higher return on investment. Mobility services enabled by the Cisco® Unified  Wireless Network wireless LAN are the middle layer that connects the wireless  network to the range of healthcare applications. Through mobility services, the  Cisco Unified Wireless Network not only improves employee productivity, but also  creates new ways of delivering services, improving efficiencies, and opening  revenue opportunities. Mobility services enabled by the WLAN infrastructure make  healthcare organizations more agile and efficient by morphing traditional  healthcare applications to be mobility-aware.


The future of healthcare computing is the introduction of context based  computing which is built on wireless mobile applications. The goal of the  context model is to join the clinician and patient context through the  predictive delivery of data to mobile device based on location and role.



The Cisco® Unified Wireless Network mobility services are the interface  between the wireless network and applications. Services that are currently  providing the most value include location, voice, guest access, and security  services. They are defined as follows:


Location services—Locate any Wi-Fi device quickly to  support enhanced network security, management, and troubleshooting, as well as  to enable location-based applications through a rich, open API.

Voice services—Extend the seamless mobility of the Cisco®  Unified Wireless Network to enable business communications using Wi-Fi clients  with end-to-end quality of service (QoS) and manageability.

Guest access services—Allow customers, vendors, and other  non-employees to wirelessly access network resources, with privileges based on  user type and physical location, without compromising the enterprise  security.

Security services—Unify wired and wireless security and  ensure network information integrity by enabling location-based authentication  and precise detection, identification, and prevention of wireless threats.

The integration of wireless LAN mobility services into organizational logic  significantly increases the value of the wireless network. The following are  examples of emerging applications and benefits enabled by wireless LAN mobility  services.

7.1 Location Services

Asset tracking—Use of RFID tags to quickly and accurately  locate important assets. The types of assets to be tracked vary based on the  industry. Examples of such tracked assets in hospitals include heart monitors,  wheel chairs, IV pumps and event patients.

Presence—Allows the network to adjust the delivery of its  services based on the location and availability of the user. As an example, the  network may elect to contact a user in a conference by text message instead of  by calling in order to avoid disruption.

7.2 Voice Services

Increased Responsiveness—Deploying wireless voice over IP,  healthcare organizations can provide voice services, including a direct dial  extension and individual voicemail to every employee. Mobile telephony improves  productivity by increasing call completion and reducing the time spent accessing  voicemail. Wireless voice services also eliminate page and wait, which improves  workflow processes. Clinical staffs are free from fixed stations and can spend  more time on the patient floors while staying in touch with other staff.

7.3 Guest Access Services

Improved patient satisfaction—By providing wireless guest  access, hospitals can provide Internet access and other services to patients in  a secure and manageable way.

Family and friends visiting patients can maintain connectivity  while they visit—Guest traffic is securely segmented from the clinical  traffic to eliminate security risks.

Increased conference and seminar attendance—Healthcare  organizations play an important role in the community with their outreach  programs. Offering wireless guest access to visitors can increase the  effectiveness of their programs. Guest access is also an important tool to  collaborate with remote sites and visiting experts.

7.4 Security Services

Physical security—The pervasiveness of the wireless  network lends itself to physical security applications such as video  surveillance and facility control (for example, badge reading). While these are  not new applications, physical security can be delivered in a more  cost-effective and pervasive manner than previously possible.

Rogue network containment—Businesses continue to struggle  with the containment of rogue wireless networks because of the ease with which  users can purchase and deploy consumer-grade Wi-Fi access points. The integrated  RF monitoring capabilities of the Cisco Unified Wireless Network automatically  detects the presence of rogue activity and contains it. By combining RF  monitoring with location services, the Cisco Unified wireless network can  provide precise location details on where the rogue activity is occurring so  that it can be physically removed.

Pervasive wireless deployments are providing business benefits far beyond  productivity improvements. With wireless LAN mobility services, businesses can  now deploy innovative applications to change business processes and provide new  avenues for revenue growth and potential competitive advantage. As the adoption  of wireless and mobile solutions expands, businesses will derive greater benefit  from their infrastructure.

7.5 Case Study: George Eliot Hospital (GEH)

Healthcare providers can calculate a tangible return on investment (ROI) for  each wireless application enabled by the network. In the United Kingdom, the  George Eliot Hospital (GEH) achieved substantial time savings by tracking  patients and prioritizing patient treatment in the Accident and Emergency  department. The 440-bed acute care hospital delivers hospital services to  250,000 people. GEH wanted to seek ways in increase hospital responsiveness,  efficiency, and capacity.


An application called A&E Trakker* was only available from desktop  systems. Other information resources such as pathology results and radiology  reports also existed in electronic form, but were accessible only to a limited  number of clinicians.


GEH decided to undertake a pilot project to acquire a better understanding of  the implications and impact of making these and other resources available to GEH  clinical and administrative staff through a mobile information portal. The  mobile portal provided online access to pathology and radiology results, patient  records, the A&E Trakker* and other online resources. The mobile portal was  integrated into GEH’s recently installed 802.11 b/g wireless network. Nurses,  medical and surgical consultants, and senior house officers across a range of  wards and functions, including the A&E department and emergency medical  unit, were distributed 20 laptops and tablet PCs.


The benefits were considerable, with mobile clinicians realizing significant  time savings in both the outpatient and medical wards. For example, the time  spent by a nurse to screen patient pre-op test results was reduced by an average  of 45 minutes per shift, and nurses spent an average of 20 minutes less per  procedure recording surgery notes. Further benefits were seen in the areas of  patient safety and quality of care, with access to real-time information,  helping ensure continuity of treatment and decisions based on the most current  and complete information available.


ROI analysis of project costs and the time savings observed in outpatient  clinics and specialty clinics and by consultants, predicted that GEH can return  the investment of the pilot within 15 months.

(SOURCE: Adapted from Intel® Solution® Services: Hospitals Transform  Healthcare with mobile Computing Solutions.)


7.6 Case Study: Altona Hospital

At Altona Hospital in Germany (part of the Asklepios Group) PACS images are  transferred over the converged network from the central radiology department to  any one of a number of clinics, within minutes. In the past, this took up to 24  hours. At the Utrecht Medical Center in the Netherlands, a converged wireless  network in the Emergency Room provides real-time patient tracking, bed-side  access to patient information, wireless transmission of vitals information and  remote video consultation delivering time savings to the clinicians and better  treatment for patients.

8. Conclusion

A new generation of wireless standards, technologies and products enable  healthcare organizations to capture the benefits of pervasive wireless networks  to deliver hospital-wide mobile point of care. Cisco and Intel are at the  forefront of building solutions tailored to specific requirements of healthcare  environments. The impact of earlier challenges such as security and management  are dramatically reduced through a continued focus on delivering standards-based  improvements. New technology architectures have decreased the complexity of  deployment and ongoing support, which in turn decreases the resources required  to maintain a pervasive wireless network. These improvements, in combination  with exciting new wireless LAN mobility services like voice, location, guest  access, and advanced security, derive even more value from a wireless solution.  Only through a pervasive wireless deployment can healthcare organizations equip  themselves with the tools required to connect to the right information at the  right time is critical to saving lives, time, and money.



2 Some basic key points on ‘planning a secure wireless service’  are covered in the following link ( ).

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