WebMed Goes Wireless to Improve Patient Healthcare

WebMed Technology, a healthcare technology consultancy, practices what it preaches. The company provides services such as Web site development and custom application development to hospitals, physicians, pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare organizations across Canada.

WebMed’s staff employs the same wireless devices and systems it provides to physicians, who use them everywhere from the patient’s bedside to the emergency room. Its Pixalere software is a wireless interface used in outpatient care to record and review outpatient wound care, saving patients from making unnecessary return trips to the hospital. The company’s health-ePlan is an electronic, personalized plan that tracks a patient’s progress, offering patients, physicians and healthcare institutions current information from any location worldwide.

“Using a wireless solution allows us to move about the office and relocate team members without a concern for having to make changes to an existing wired network infrastructure,” says Dr. Jonathan Burns, founder and CEO of WebMed. Burns says WebMed selected NEC Unified Solution’s Univerge Wireless LAN because the consultancy already uses NEC’s VoIP phone system.

WebMed used other wireless products, such as Lucent Technologies and Orinoco, in the past, but “these solutions were not as scalable as the NEC solution,” he says. “The NEC solution also afforded us an opportunity to do a ‘soft’ upgrade to 802.11g, whereas the Orinoco and Lucent equipment we had been using would have had to be replaced with new hardware.”

The Univerge Wireless LAN is a converged mobility product that consists of WL Wireless Controller, Access Points and Control Software to help WebMed test and analyze wireless applications and devices. The Wireless Controller is a line of wireless controllers that accommodates a range of mobile access options for direct Power over Ethernet connection to NEC and third-party access points or embedding in an enterprise’s existing wired infrastructure. Access Points supports all 802.11 bands, and the Control Software is network management software for wireless configuration and management that supplements a command line interface and a Web browser interface for individual controller management.

“The main reason that we opted for the NEC solution was the fact that it only required a software update to become 802.11g compatible,” Burns says. “Having this option meant that when the time came to take advantage of the increased bandwidth, it was simply a matter of updating the Access Point.”

In addition, the competitors’ wireless products didn’t fit into the long-term strategy of Fraser Health Authority, a WebMed client, and working with WebMed on technology advancement projects.

WebMed is using Univerge Wireless LAN for its office network connectivity. As it evaluates various notebooks and PDAs with built-in WiFi, “we are able to make recommendations to our customers based on the connection stability between the Access Points and the devices,” Burns says.

About the Author

Kathleen Ohlson is senior editor at Application Development Trends magazine.