Now that Cook Children’s has a wireless infrastructure that we can trust, our focus has moved from the infrastructure to new end-user applications and devices. The first was a Vocera VoIP solution that integrated nurse call and bedside physiological monitoring alarms in the neonatal intensive care unit where Cook Children’s most fragile patients receive highly specialized and monitored care.
Reliable and silent communications that allow nurses to be both mobile and in contact with patients has enabled Cook Children’s to create a calming private room setting that vastly improves the patient/family experience. Parents can stay in the room 24x7 and the two-way
communications for both assistance calls and medical alarms enable nursing
to be efficient while providing critical emergency response across an expansive set of private rooms.
A clinician-driven initiative, Cook Children’s wanted to achieve an average hospital scan rate much higher than the industry average of 70 percent. Again, we did not have to worry
about the wireless environment, so IT was able to focus on usability of the barcode scanners, printers, and even the barcode band that would be placed on patient wrists. When it came to rollout, the system integrity and continuity allowed IT to concentrate on training and support of the new application to maximize nursing adoption. The results have been astounding with more than 97 percent of patients and their medications being scanned on a daily basis.
With the general growth of wireless, the number of devices in a single room can challenge most wireless infrastructures. It is not uncommon now to have 4-to-6 wireless medical devices in a room and 4-to-6 wireless devices used by family, visitors, and patients for a total of a dozen wireless devices in a room. At Cook Children’s, the number of wireless devices has increased by more than 1,000 percent over the last 5 years with most of this growth on the GuestNet. But with the ability to offer different types of wireless connections and the ability to segregate Wi-Fi traffic between guest-critical, enterprise- critical, and life-critical, Cook Children’s has been able to manage this growth, keeping the GuestNet in check without impacting the throughput or reliability of the enterprise and