Virtua is also in the middle of a major refresh of its wireless network, something it does every seven years or so, adds Chas Thawley, the organization’s assistant vice president of technology.
“Every other year we do a physical wireless assessment to make sure we still have coverage where we need it,” Thawley says. “And every seven years or so we replace the actual wireless infrastructure to make it denser and more reliable. Hardware gets better, faster and cheaper every couple of years, and we want to make sure we continue to keep it working great.”
But the range, as well as the scope and age, of the connected devices on Virtua’s network is huge — and even the latest and greatest technologies are often insecure. That’s why the health system uses network segmentation to quarantine sensitive equipment, limiting the potential damage if a device is compromised. In addition, the organization has centralized procurement, so that every device must pass muster with IT before it’s allowed to join the network. If the device connects to the internet by default, they’ll turn that feature off or isolate it from the network.
“There’s always a balance between security and innovation, especially if it’s an innovative device that can help save a life,” Gordon says.
Seniors Tap Tablets for Pain Management, Entertainment
In addition to improving the patient experience, mobile devices are being deployed to help reduce patient suffering. At Southern Hills Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas, doctors use Samsung tablets running AI software to help patients manage pain and reduce their dependence on opioids.
Patients wear a special headband that measures their brainwaves and transmits the data to software running on the tablet, which performs a full-spectrum brain analysis, drawing on the largest database on pain outside of the National Institutes of Health. When it detects a pattern that indicates pain, discomfort or nausea, the software delivers personalized diversionary content.
The tablets are stored in carts that charge and sanitize them between uses. They don’t capture personally identifiable information and are protected by Samsung’s Knox security toolkit.
The pain management software has been used by everyone from moms in delivery to oncology patients undergoing chemotherapy. Seniors play cognitive games on the tablets to keep their brains sharp, while patients who have trouble sleeping in hospitals use music apps to help them nod off.
“This has greatly enhanced the patient experience in our hospital emergency department,” says Kathy Millhiser, director of emergency services at Southern Hills. “We understand how vulnerable our patients can feel when they are in pain and come to the hospital for care.