Texas health system, GE untether the power of wireless

Not too long ago, hospitals almost uniformly banned cell phones. Now, many have become "wide-open wireless environments," according to telecommunications trade publication Telephony Online. Notably, General Electric has formed partnerships with Sprint Nextel and wireless LAN technology provider MobileAccess to build robust wireless infrastructure for all kinds of healthcare needs.

Methodist Healthcare in San Antonio picked the GE-Sprint team to install wireless systems at six hospitals that support all kinds of communications without interfering with or compromising the transmission of sensitive medical data. "Our doctors and nurses need tools that are wireless so that they don't have to be tethered to a phone or a computer. If a nurse needs to reach a doctor with a question when she is administering some medication and that doctor is walking the halls of the hospital, wireless is the only way to reach him," Methodist Healthcare CIO Eddie Cuellar tells Telephony Online.

At the same time, doctors want ready, timely access to test results, no matter where they happen to be within or outside the hospital. And a GE manager says acuteness of diseases is on the upswing, so it's important to be able to move patient monitors to where the patients most in need are located. Wireless networks free up equipment that previously could only be used in designated areas of the hospital that had the necessary wiring.

For more on the Methodist wireless deployment and the evolution of in-hospital wireless technology:
- read this Telephony Online piece