Written by Bill Roberts | President, Network Services | Datatrend Technologies, Inc.
Technology needs and opportunities have never been greater in the health care industry, and structured cabling provides the backbone to enable the latest technologies, such as IP-based video security, wireless networks and access points, paging systems, CCTV, electronic medical records (EMR), etc. In order to perform at their best, these technologies need the infrastructure provided from a well-designed and quality cabling system. And in health care, anything less than peak performance is truly unacceptable.
In order to provide the best care for your patients, employees, and guests, you need a high-performing network with speed and bandwidth that anticipates your site’s future needs. Patient safety and satisfaction are also critical considerations during the planning, installation, and maintenance phases for your network infrastructure. Hospitals and other health care sites are unique in requiring solutions catered to the combination of an office environment, a retail environment, a service environment and an industrial environment, all at the same time.
Large facility projects bring a heightened degree of complexity that requires thorough and extensive preparation and ground work – an absolute necessity for designing sustainable solutions. A site survey is an important early step in the process, giving an understanding a facility’s property lines and identifying and accounting for related interferences, such as trees or water, gas or power lines. The site survey also identifies services and technologies (e.g. voice, wireless network access points, or videoconferencing) your network will need to support and their corresponding requirements.
Future applications and demands are also important to factor, so the network design can account for both today’s technology and tomorrow’s expansion requirements. In light of fast-changing technology needs, fiber optic cabling installation offers the most scalable, flexible and high performing solution when it comes to speed and reliability, with ample bandwidth to satisfy demands as your site grows.
The consultants and engineers should thoroughly assess your site, working directly with your on-site staff, the building owners, construction companies, and patient services to ensure nothing during the implementation stage puts your patients in danger or disrupts service. Creating site-specific blueprints with every detail noted and double checked before any cable is even laid will keep your technology rollout on time and on budget. It’s important to choose an experienced partner who can anticipate and avert issues identified at the time of the site survey.
Be sure you can answer these key questions:
- How has the cable been laid out in your design process?
- Does the design make sense with the many different environments that need to be covered?
- Does it allow for new technologies to be implemented in the future?
Your technology users expand beyond the core staff and services engaged in patient care. Patients, their families and other visitors are demanding the same technologies they have at home when at your facilities – in patient rooms and lobbies. They seek wireless internet access for their computers and smart phones to check email and stay in-touch with loved ones, listen to music, stream videos. And, you can enhance their experience and care through cable TV in lobbies and patient rooms, e-visits and online care capabilities. All need more bandwidth to work efficiently and reliably.
Following site rollout, maintenance and management issues rise in importance. If you’ve commissioned a certified team of contractors and engineers experienced in health care solutions, you’ll benefit from their anticipation of future needs in the planning phase – helping to minimize costs and disruptions when upgrades and add-ons are required in the future. Find a company that plans, installs, maintains and guarantees their work.
As we look into the future, an estimated 30-40 million more Americans are estimated to enter the health care system by 2014. The need to manage patient information and provide state of the art care quickly and efficiently at this capacity will put increasing pressure on the industry to evolve technologies quickly. Having a solid infrastructure to handle immerging technologies will be the key to staying on the leading edge.
To learn more about Datatrend structured cabling services and our experience in the health care industry, please contact us or call 1-800-367-7472.