Six hospitals deploy West's medical grade wireless

By Brian Dolan
08:06 am
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West Wireless Health InstituteLast year at the HIMSS event the West Wireless Health Institute CEO Don Casey told MobiHealthNews that the WWHI had added Ed Cantwell as a new senior vice president. His first project was to form a group of hospital CIOs to create a standard architecture for wireless networks inside hospitals.

“Assurance is the number one fear for new wireless sensor companies looking to work in the hospital environment,” Cantwell told MobiHealthNews in an interview on-site at the event in Orlando last February. Cantwell said that the four principles of assurance are coverage, signal strength, capacity, and certainty.

Now, six hospitals have rolled out the "medical grade wireless open framework" in their facilities, including, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, CA and HealthAlliance Hospital, a member of UMass Memorial Health Care, in Leominster, MA. Scripps Health in San Diego is in the process of deploying it, too.

The group that Cantwell formed to create this framework, which the WWHI says is freely available, is called the West Wireless Health Council. Here's how the Council has distilled the aim of its reference architecture: "Using best practices across the industry, the Council developed a reference architecture that enables a wireless infrastructure to be incorporated into any hospital or health care system, much like electricity, plumbing, heating or air conditioning."

The West Wireless Health Council's Executive Committee includes: Harold Dupper, Vice President/Finance, Platte Valley Medical Center, Brighton, CO. Marty Miller, Chief Information Officer, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, CA. Bruce Rainey, Corporate Vice President, Facilities Design and Construction, Scripps Health, San Diego, CA. Chris Riha, Clinical Systems Engineering Technology Services Group, Carillion Health System, Roanoke, VA. Greg Walton, Chief Information Officer, El Camino Hospital, Mountain View, CA.

“We believe that creating some standards and architectures that guarantee those four things would allow anyone — from GE Healthcare to Carefusion to Sotera Wireless — to develop with confidence that there will be an environment that will guarantee their devices and applications will work,” Casey told MobiHealthNews last year.

For a full list of Council members and more details, read the press release below:

PRESS RELEASE: SAN DIEGO — February 15, 2012 — A new coalition of hospital and health system leaders from across the country are developing innovative solutions that will enable the full potential of wireless health technology to be realized in health care delivery settings, and ultimately lower health care costs.

Currently, there is no standard approach to installing wireless infrastructure in health care settings, resulting in limited coverage and bandwidth. This makes it almost impossible for a doctor's iPad, a patient's smartphone and a wireless infusion pump to work simultaneously and at a level of assurance required in a medical setting. The restricted environment effectively slows the growth of low-cost solutions and drives up costs for hospitals.

The West Wireless Health Institute formed the West Wireless Health Council to address this critical challenge, among others. Today the Council announced its first milestone: the creation of a medical grade wireless open framework that effectively turns wireless into a common utility. Using best practices across the industry, the Council developed a reference architecture that enables a wireless infrastructure to be incorporated into any hospital or health care system, much like electricity, plumbing, heating or air conditioning.

To date, the architecture has been successfully deployed in six of the hospitals and health care systems represented on the Council. These include Children's Hospital Los Angeles, El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, CA and HealthAlliance Hospital, a member of UMass Memorial Health Care, in Leominster, MA. Other institutions, such as Scripps Health in San Diego, are in the process of deploying the new reference architecture which is available to hospitals and health care systems at no cost.

"From the perspective of health care delivery, we were able to design an innovative solution based on the needs of health care, rather than what's currently available in the marketplace," said Marty Miller, CIO of Children's Hospital Los Angeles and a member of the West Wireless Health Council Executive Committee.

"We want to see health care benefit from the same economies of scale that have really reduced costs in the consumer electronics space — hospitals are a key driver to make that a reality," said Don Casey, CEO, West Wireless Health Institute. "Hospitals and health care systems have been dependent on expensive solutions that in many cases are proprietary and lead to unneeded costs and the Council's reference architecture reduces that dependency."

In addition to the reference architecture for wireless medical solutions, the Council will focus on four additional aspects of wireless health including: regulatory improvement and leadership, medical device interoperability and data analytics, medical device assurance, and hospital infrastructure implementation. It is made up of leaders in health care information technology, biomedical, infrastructure, and clinical experts representing a broad portfolio of hospitals across the nation that have goals to lower the cost of health care.

Members of the West Wireless Health Council's Executive Committee include:

Harold Dupper, Vice President/Finance, Platte Valley Medical Center, Brighton, CO.

Marty Miller, Chief Information Officer, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, CA.

Bruce Rainey, Corporate Vice President, Facilities Design and Construction, Scripps Health, San Diego, CA.

Chris Riha, Clinical Systems Engineering Technology Services Group, Carillion Health System, Roanoke, VA.

Greg Walton, Chief Information Officer, El Camino Hospital, Mountain View, CA.

Also represented on the Council are the following:

Margaret Campbell, R.N., Associate Chief Information Officer, HealthAlliance Hospital, a member of UMass Memorial Health Care, Leominster, MA.

Dave Duncan, Corporate Vice President, Facilities and Support Services, HealthAlliance Hospital, a member of UMass Memorial Health Care, Leominster, MA.

Steve Garske, Chief Information Officer, Kootenai Medical Center, Coeur d' Alene, ID.

John D. Hixson, M.D., Associate Deputy for Clinical Informatics, San Francisco VA Medical Center, San Francisco, CA.

Greg Johnson, Chief Technology Officer, Director of IT Technology and Engineering Services, Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Richmond, VA.

Ed Lowell, Director of Infrastructure, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford, Palo Alto, CA.

Richard Mohnk, Associate Chief Information Officer, UMass Memorial Medical Center, Worcester, MA.

Rick Pollack, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Richmond, VA.

Michael L. Sorensen, Executive Director and Chief Technology Officer, University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences, Chicago, IL.

Bill Spooner, Senior Vice President/CIO, Sharp HealthCare, San Diego, CA.

Patric R. Thomas, Corporate Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Scripps Health Information Services, San Diego, CA.

Mark S. Wiesenberg, Chief Technology Officer, Scripps Health, San Diego, CA.

Marcia Wylie, Director Biomedical Engineering, Scripps Health, San Diego, CA.

Eric Yablonka, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences, Chicago, IL.

Michael Zachary, Director of Enterprise Architecture, Cook Children's Health Care System, Fort Worth, TX.

ABOUT THE WEST WIRELESS HEALTH INSTITUTE

The West Wireless Health Institute (www.westwirelesshealth.org) is the only medical research organization in the world focused on lowering health care costs through technology and innovation. The Institute was founded in 2009 by the Gary and Mary West Foundation, and is based in San Diego, California, the global center for health care innovation. Follow us on Twitter @westhealth.

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