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Staff Stress and Patient Safety Hinge on Reliable Wireless Communication

Burgeoning wireless tech can ease the workload, but only with a strong connection

Wi-Fi is a universal crutch we all lean on to some degree. It dictates so much about our workday and everyday lives, and productivity suffers due to a poor wireless signal or lost connection. The medical field perhaps stands the most to lose if Wi-Fi is under par … so what happens when it cuts out totally?

Signal loss means more demands on staff and serious risks for patients, and the situation is only becoming more critical. The concept of a Wi-Fi-dependent hospital is here and gaining traction; an environment where wireless devices are used to diagnose, treat and monitor patients to a greater degree than ever before.

This kind of progress has the potential to ease the workload of hospital employees – but this solution only works if the Wi-Fi does.

Disconnected devices and patient safety issues

Hospitals employ a host of tools and equipment that utilize wireless: WoW’s, EMP-hosting tablets, IP phones, and more. Our previous blog detailed how a large hospital can rely on as many as 85,000 connected devices and spend up to 500 hours per year on Wi-Fi maintenance.

That’s an incredible amount of maintenance time and potential downtime. The pains of disconnecting devices, reacting to issues rather than preventing them, and low patient satisfaction can all quickly endanger reputations and lives. This is why 7Signal prides itself on helping clients troubleshoot their Wi-Fi issues in 30 seconds or less.

The stats about the vital nature of communication are sobering, but it’s also encouraging to see just how much trouble reliable Wi-Fi could prevent. Past research by The Joint Commission found as many as half of all negative tech events in hospitals could have been prevented, as could 80% of sentinel events. These are serious occurrences which may result in death, permanent harm, or severe temporary harm for patients.

The problem in these events was often inefficient communication, particularly timely event reporting, the veracity of information, and a non-standardized approach to how staff kept in touch. These are three issues which can be vastly mitigated with a reliable Wi-Fi system in an interconnected hospital. Information can be transferred and cross-checked instantaneously over an easily-accessed network.

Workloads and mortality rates

Extra medical workloads increase the likelihood of a fatality. A RN4CAST study found that increasing a nurse’s responsibilities by only one patient ups the chances of patient death by 7%. Those odds more than double to 16% if missed nursing care reached 10%. Missed care and heavy workloads also elevate the danger of patients dying after common, not complex, surgical procedures.

A study published last year in the Annals of Intensive Care found that patients only need to spend a single day in an overworked ICU to have a lower chance of survival. In the wake of staffing shortages and rising health care costs, technology must step in to help bridge the gap by providing ways to reduce workloads and optimize patient care.

Making your own Wi-Fi worthwhile

Our service is installed at client facilities as a continuously running utility that identifies connection issues. This is what makes 7Signal’s service unique: we’re the only solution designed to continuously monitor mission-critical Wi-Fi at the Access Point and device/client level.

The platform rapidly addresses developing issues before you even get a help desk calls by continuously monitoring the Wi-Fi network and medical devices and providing notification. This reliability always keeps patient devices communicating with the Electronic Health Record to ensure accurate data.

A steady wireless connection also supports the electronic devices of patients or visitors, allowing them to entertain themselves, stay in touch with the world, and let staff get on with their jobs. With the average hospital stay for a U.S. patient being around 5 days, it’s easy to see how reliable Wi-Fi can reduce patient demand on staff time and boost patient satisfaction scores, which are often a critical component of funding.

Reliable Wi-Fi is vital in the modern medical environment

Innovative and reliable wireless is increasingly the best assistant hospital staff can have. Maintaining an unbroken stream of information and communication helps limit a host of problems and delays. And optimizing performance, satisfying patients, and possibly saving lives can all depend on how quickly you can isolate and solve a Wi-Fi issue.

7Signal is here to help you streamline and maximize your patient care. Download our white paper on the health of your hospital Wi-Fi to learn more.

7Signal is the Wi-Fi company here to help your business grow. Our cloud-based software lets our clients analyze their wireless performance to optimize its health and identify issues before productivity is lost. For more information on our comprehensive solutions, products, and services please call 216-777-2900.