Patients get Internet, freedom to move at Palomar

September 20, 2012 in Medical Technology

ESCONDIDO, CA – Officials at Palomar Medical Center announced Thursday that they’re joining a growing number of hospitals providing remote patient monitoring and complimentary Internet access to hospital guests.

The new 288-bed, 11-story hospital opened for patient care Aug. 19, and officials say the center will give patients more freedom to communicate, as they can now stay connected to a guest Wi-Fi network throughout the facility. The new secure network also means important patient information can be shared faster and more efficiently with the right caregiver, regardless of location or mobile device, officials say.

In addition to providing Wi-Fi to patients, the hospital has also selected other network and data center solutions that allow Palomar to deploy multiple new patient and caregiver applications, including alert management, mobile wireless tracking, remote robotics and automated medication dispensing. Palomar will be tapping Cisco for the network and data center services.

[See also: Remote patient monitoring market to reach $9.3B .]

Palomar Medical Center joins a burgeoning number of hospitals nationwide that are providing Internet access to hospital guests. The Department of Veterans Affairs started rolling out Internet access throughout 153 hospitals starting in 2010. The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Emory Healthcare are also among the many now providing free Internet services to hospital guests.

Moreover, Palomar also joins the increasing number of hospitals adding remote patient monitoring, a technology officials say will give the patient more freedom than the traditional hospital bed setting of being tangled and tethered by medical wires. A 2012 Kalorama report has pegged the remote patient monitoring market value at $8.9 billion in 2011, up from $3.9 billion in 2007.

Orlando Portale, chief innovation officer at Palomar Health, said the new technology “includes the infrastructure to enable next generation mobile wireless tracking, remote robotics, biometric person identification and automated medication dispensing, to name a few.” Portale also says the new network services will “help drive improvements in patient care and operational efficiencies.”

Extending Internet access in conjuction with remote patient monitoring capabilities, “Now patients have greater freedoms within the hospital, without compromising their health, as they are observed both inside and outside of hospital walls,” says Ben Kanter, MD, chief medical information officer at Palomar Health.

Watch: different technologies in use at the new Palomar Medical Center

Video from Cisco and Palomar Health

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Article source: http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/patients-get-internet-freedom-move

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