Children's Memorial Hospital of Chicago installs InnerWireless system to enable complete medical mobility

Chicago 25 January 2005Children's Memorial Hospital of Chicago has installed the InnerWireless broadband distribution system to empower clinical applications and interpersonal communications, including pagers. The hospital selected InnerWireless because of its ability to support a full range of wireless applications via a single distribution infrastructure. The system is a valuable solution supporting the hospital's goal of adopting technology to help reduce medical errors and further improve patient care.


Children's Memorial was among the first hospitals to install InnerWireless, which also is in use in some of the country's most recognizable buildings, including the 2,8 million-square-foot Time Warner Center in Manhattan; New York City's Rockefeller Center Concourse; and the New Charlotte Arena, future home of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats. Several hospitals across the country are in various phases of installing the InnerWireless system; Children's Memorial went live with InnerWireless in August 2004.

Installed in large commercial buildings, hospitals, campuses, convention centres - any institution or commercial enterprise - the InnerWireless System provides uniform wireless coverage and facilitates the rapidly expanding number of wireless applications and devices. The InnerWireless system acts like a wireless utility, supporting a full range of wireless applications and services, including wireless LANs, personal communications services (PCS), cell phones, PDAs and two-way radios for property maintenance and security.

"It's very difficult for wireless signals to travel in a hospital, with the steel superstructure, thick concrete walls, metal-plated floors, and even lead around the radiology rooms", stated William Brook, director of information technology at Children's Memorial Hospital. "We wanted a system that could overcome those barriers and give us a consistent, uniform wireless signal and InnerWireless allows us to achieve this result. InnerWireless supports our medication administration and paging system, and our cell phone provider has hooked into it as well. Being able to monitor medication administration wirelessly at the bedside is a huge benefit and allows our clinicians to do more at the point of care."

Children's Memorial installed the InnerWireless system as part of its response to a report on patient safety published by the Leapfrog Group. The Leapfrog Group is an initiative driven by organisations that buy health care who are working to initiate breakthrough improvements in the safety, quality and affordability of health care for Americans. According to the Leapfrog report, implementing technology designed to mitigate medication errors significantly improves patient safety. Based on these findings, a special Children's Memorial taskforce of IT, pharmacy and clinical personnel was formed, and the group chose to deploy a wireless infrastructure to enable the hospital to implement point-of-care medication administration.

The hospital taskforce determined that monitoring medication at the point of care was required, but realized that placing hardwired PCs at every bedside was neither practical nor economically feasible. Therefore, the team pursued a thin-client solution to be powered by wireless technologies. That's when William Brook learned about InnerWireless and its ability to support virtually any kind of wireless device. William Brook was intrigued by the prospect of buying a single wireless system that could empower the hospital's medication administration system as well as distribute cellular signals, paging, and even support the building's maintenance and security communications.

"New wireless devices and clinical applications are rolling out so rapidly that even seasoned CIOs are challenged by the prospect of wireless integration - moving from multi-system chaos to a single, controlled wireless ecosystem", stated Ed Cantwell, president, CEO and chairman of InnerWireless. "In no other industry is it as critical as in the health care industry to have instant access to vital data and resources. Children's Memorial is an excellent example of how a multi-service wireless distribution system can provide enterprise-wide wireless coverage enabling point-of-care mobility and applications such as bedside medication administration. We are delighted to be working so closely with Children's Memorial, one of the country's leading paediatric hospitals."

Children's Memorial Hospital serves more than 93.000 children each year, with more than 320.000 total outpatient visits annually. It is the only paediatric trauma centre in the Chicagoland area and is the only free-standing hospital exclusively for children in Illinois. The 270-bed hospital is home to the Children's Memorial Research Center, one of the nation's premier centres for paediatric research. The hospital consistently ranks as Illinois' top paediatric hospital, and for 12 consecutive years it has been named as one of the nation's best by U.S News & World Report magazine.

InnerWireless supports a full range of wireless applications and services in hospitals and large commercial buildings with its broadband, multi-service wireless distribution system. InnerWireless provides engineered and guaranteed wireless coverage throughout buildings ranging in size up to 10 million square feet. This permits InnerWireless to offer a single integrated wireless utility that accommodates wireless systems essential for:

  • Interpersonal Communications including PCS/cellular, messaging/personal data, enterprise voice, and paging
  • Clinical Operations including wireless infusion therapy/medical administration, enterprise/clinical data, WMTS and portable patient monitoring, and people and asset tracking
  • Building Operations including building automation, security and first-responder communications, and push-to-talk radios

InnerWireless has a strategic alliance agreement with Johnson Controls Inc., the recognized global expert in building controls and infrastructure. Under the agreement, the two companies collaborate to bring truly unique wireless solutions to market. Johnson Controls holds an equity position in InnerWireless.

Leslie Versweyveld

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