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The Impact of Wireless Technology on Healthcare Quality Improvement

Posted Mar 28 2011 1:20pm

Wireless technology in support of Clinical Information Systems provides an indispensable service to healthcare delivery. Data shows that the need for these systems is growing to meet technological and workload demands. Additionally, wireless technology provides the system infrastructure necessary to support clinical healthcare information systems such as Computerized Physician Order Entry systems and the Electronic Medical Record.
The use of wireless technology allows providers to adapt to the changing healthcare environment by reducing medical errors and increasing time for patient interaction. Advancements such as wireless capsule endoscopy provide innovative solutions to patient treatment. Such technological developments do not come without newfound risks. Among the biggest liabilities providers face in building a wireless strategy is information security and the incompatibility of older legacy health information systems. While the benefits of a wireless infrastructure may be significant, it is critical that hospital executives consider the enormous financial cost and implementation problems when creating a robust wireless infrastructure.

Our research shows that U.S. hospitals are actively involved in wireless systems planning. Specifically, our data show that by 2009 wireless LANs were installed in 1,282 health systems with 350 indicating expansion of their wireless network. An additional 40 health systems have contracted to be first time adopters of wireless technology. This increasing investment in wireless networks helps provide state-of-the-art health information technology which enhances the clinical care process. (By: Dr Jeffrey P Harrison, University of North Florida)

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