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June 09, 2011

Corning Mobile Access and Longent Join to Make Medical University of South Carolina Operate Wirelessly



Corning MobileAccess announced that the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) is using its distributed antenna system (DAS) solution to help the university determine how to better use wireless technology and integrate it into healthcare environments where the privacy and security of patient data is paramount, according to the company’s press release distributed today.

A top academic health science center, MUSC tapped Longent, an integrator of Corning MobileAccess systems, for the campus-wide wireless deployment, which covers 24 total floors and nearly 1 million square feet of indoor space, as reported in the press release.

Corning Mobile Access is part of Corning Incorporated’s telecommunications market segment.

“Deploying an indoor wireless solution in a health care environment is far different than an implementation for an office building or stadium, but the needs are the same – to make wireless services a more integrated component of daily operations,” said Rick Youngbar, founder and chief executive officer of Longent, in the press release. “Combined with the growing importance of electronic medical records, determining how to better use wireless technologies is a serious quandary for medical institutions across the country. By enlisting Longent to design, build, and deploy an indoor wireless solution, MUSC has ensured that its staff can use the latest and greatest technology to better serve its patients.”

Smartphones and tablet PCs can give physicians fast access to electronic health records (recent studies have shown that, as of 2010, 72 percent of physicians use a smartphone), according to mobilhealthnews.com. In critical situations, this can mean the difference between life and death, according to techtarget.com. But these devices, however, can bring with them a host of administrative, management and security concerns.

In the past, wireless services were inadequate at MUSC, as the press release reports. Poor quality cellular service affected not only patients and visitors across MUSC’s facilities, but also prevented medical staff from gaining the full benefits of new wireless technologies to create electronic health records that could be accessed by multiple staff members, according to the release.

To fix this, MUSC turned to Longent based on the integrator’s in the healthcare marketplace. For the MUSC’s main and childrens’ hospitals, Longent selected the MobileAccess1000, which greatly enhanced PCS and cellular service throughout the MUSC campus allowing hospital staff to better plan for future technologies and services. Beyond the existing services, MUSC has plans to extend its indoor coverage to 4G LTE and add an additional carrier, according to the press release.

“The rapid innovation of wireless technology is of huge benefit to healthcare institutions, but in order to make full use of these wireless devices, the proper infrastructure must be in place,” said Vince Dibble, manager of telecommunications and network services at the Medical University of South Carolina, in the press release.

“By enhancing our in-building wireless system, we have essentially created 'future-ready' wireless capabilities that enable our medical staff to better leverage mobile technologies and wireless services today, while also supporting emerging services like 4G running on tablets and smartphones.”

The MobileAccess1000 offers flexible in-building wireless connectivity through a single open platform that distributes cellular services, including: CELL/PCS, AWS, public safety, paging, and even emerging services such as 4G LTE, over a common grid of antennas.

For campus installations, the MA330 solution simplifies the process of supporting wireless services in multiple buildings, and precludes the need to purchase additional equipment and radio frequency sources for each facility on campus. This combined “Wire-it-Once” market approach reduces the costs and maintenance burdens of OPEX-intensive-active-in-the-ceiling networks for the hospital IT staff and one network cost effectively delivers coverage without antenna farms on ceilings, according to the release.

 

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Deborah DiSesa Hirsch is an award-winning health and technology writer who has worked for newspapers, magazines and IBM in her 20-year career. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell
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