Wireless hot spots, and holes in coverage

As reported in FierceEMR and pretty much everywhere else in health IT, Hospitals & Health Networks magazine last week released results of its annual "Most Wired" survey. It's a highly anticipated list that honors hospitals and integrated delivery networks for achievements in IT. Making it onto the list of "100 Most Wired" is a point of pride and a great marketing tool for many a hospital. Related top-25 lists of "Most Improved," "Most Wired Small and Rural" and "Most Wireless" are equally prestigious for the honorees.

As editor of FierceMobileHealthcare, I have a particular interest in the "Most Wireless" list. This collection includes household names--Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center, Yale-New Haven Hospital, UC-San Diego Medical Center--as well as some smaller, less-well-known winners. Think Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d'Alene, ID, and North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo. I guess I should be proud to live in Chicago, the only metro area to score four "Most Wireless" spots, with Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Rush University Medical Center, NorthShore University HealthSystem in north suburban Evanston and Central DuPage Hospital in the western suburb of Winfield.

The only problem is, I have no idea why these hospitals are "Most Wireless." As far as I can tell, the HHN report doesn't explain its lists. I've been to NorthShore's Evanston Hospital and seen some of the many Wi-Fi repeaters embedded in the ceiling panels and plenty of computers-on-wheels, but what makes that shop more worthy than thousands of others around the country? I've used the Wi-Fi connection at one of Northwestern Memorial's buildings, but I've done the same at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. What makes one better than another?

Am I the only one seeing quite a few dead spots in this coverage? - Neil