Hospital reaps healthy returns from wireless

Swedish Medical Center's new wireless network results in better patient care and a revenue boost.

And the new network increases overall efficiencies. The WoWs provide caregivers with real-time information at the point of care, eliminating the need for patients to move from location to location, while the use of tablets in the emergency room has enabled clinicians to make better decisions and place orders quickly -- a big benefit in a fast-paced environment. The network also supports voice via wireless phones, streamlining communications between surgical staff and transport staff, resulting in quicker turnaround of operating rooms.

Overall, Horsley says the new setup has led to 2 per cent higher revenues for the hospital system so far, due to increased efficiencies in care and billing.

Plenty of plans

But that's just the start. With its strong wireless foundation in place, the organization is now poised to garner increased savings and revenues via new wireless-based applications, including planned hands-free communications services from Vocera, as well as location-based services for tracking hospital equipment.

"With Vocera, you hit the button on your badge and just say, 'Call nurse Jones,' or 'Please call the nurse on 3West,' and it automatically connects the call," Horsley explains, noting that the hospital system began implementing the Vocera technology in January. "From a clinician's perspective, it's all about that quick communications, because it's a fast-paced environment and there are so many people involved. The wireless network helps us improve communications and overall workflow."

Similarly, Horsley's group is planning to augment the network with more access points to implement location-based services, primarily to better use and track expensive equipment, especially its Smart Pumps. Smart Pumps are integrated with hospital computer systems and can stop a nurse from giving 50 ml of a drug when it should be 5 ml, for example. The pumps are mobile and expensive, so linking them into the wireless network and tracking their usage and location will save money.

"With location-based services, there is definitely the potential benefit of saving greater than US$100,000 per year," Horsley says. "That comes from the efficient use of assets that tend to migrate in a hospital. Items such as Smart Pumps, surgical instruments, wheelchairs, and so on, get misplaced. And then services are delayed and staff spend time looking for them."

And time is, perhaps, the greatest savings for the organization. Horsley says he initially saw resistance from physicians regarding the wireless and EMR system. "It slows them down at first because they're just not used to doing everything on a computer and they are actually inputting information, where before they could just bark an order at an RN," he says. "But what they come to learn is they actually save time. They don't realize how much time they spent looking for information before, in the paper world. With the new setup, all the information they need to make a good decision is right at their fingertips."

Cummings is a freelance writer in North Andover, Mass. She can be reached at

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joanne Cummings

Network World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?