Symbol's Wireless Technology brings real time records to the patient's bedside in Austria

Winnersh 20 August 2002Symbol Technologies Inc. has installed the Symbol Spectrum24 Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) at the Tyrolean Provincial Hospital Company (TILAK) in Austria, which manages the Innsbruck University Clinic and four other regional hospitals. The infrastructure, which was developed with Symbol business partner Alcatel, employs the Symbol Spectrum24 High Rate 11Mbps WLAN system and Kerberos security architecture, providing medical staff using handheld devices with rapid and secure access to health information including patient records, charts and X-rays, from any location within the hospital.


With more than 6000 staff at six different facilities in the Innsbruck area, TILAK realised that its multiple sites would benefit from an "information-pull" IT strategy, with data security as a critical element. Key information provided ranges from patient records including X-rays and charts, as well as dietary analysis and test results, with the ability for updates to be made in "real time", unlike the time-delay associated with traditional paper-based systems.

With bedside use a major consideration, the system is being deployed throughout TILAK's facilities including outpatient services, its clinical research departments such as neurology and orthopaedics, and administration. In phase one of the installation, mobile terminals provide approximately 2500 staff with access to the system.

Following a series of tests comparing various products based on the IEEE 802.11b standard for wireless networking, TILAK chose to partner with Symbol based on the quality of its 11Mbps WLAN infrastructure and Kerberos security software, which met the demanding requirements of mobile health care.

Symbol installed 48 Access Points in three buildings for the first TILAK project, also providing Wireless Networker PC cards, allowing TILAK's handheld devices to integrate smoothly with the WLAN. The security system, based on the Kerberos protocol, has been implemented into the Symbol Spectrum24 wireless LANs to provide robust security and uninterrupted network connectivity for voice and data devices.

Romed Giner, TILAK IT Technical Department, stated: "We had very clear aims with this project, with data security being the most important. During tests, Symbol showed its capabilities in both static and mobile environments and fully addressed TILAK's security needs and concerns. We are confident that this system will develop along with our needs, providing our staff with information where and when they need it, thus raising the quality of care experienced by patients."

Symbol's WLAN infrastructure is fully integrated with TILAK's existing IT systems, ensuring compatibility with internal e-mail systems and patient record databases. During the redevelopment of facilities, TILAK will continue the programme's development with progressive installation of additional Symbol Access Points, allowing wider availability of the system to employees.

Kerberos provides both user authentication and encryption key management to guard wired networks from all forms of intrusion on data in transmission including interruption, interception, modification and fabrication. This security system, part of the Symbol Spectrum24 High Rate release firmware, is geared toward the mobile enterprise fabric of 802.11b wireless VoIP handsets, enabled PDAs, handheld mobile computing devices and laptops.

Symbol Technologies Inc. is specialised in mobile data transaction systems, providing innovative customer solutions based on wireless local area networking for data and voice, application-specific mobile computing and bar code data capture. Symbol's wireless information appliances connect the physical world of people on the move, packages, paper and shipping pallets, to information systems and the Internet.

Today, some 10 million Symbol bar code scanners, mobile computers and wireless LANs are utilised worldwide in markets ranging from retailing to transportation and distribution logistics, manufacturing, parcel and postal delivery, government, health care and education. Symbol's systems and products are used to increase productivity from the factory floor to the retail store, to the enterprise and out to the home.

Leslie Versweyveld

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