Bedside monitors with a wireless LAN connection have their advantages,
however the flexibility the wireless link offers is not without its challenges. The
reliability and quality of the wireless signal transmission through the air and
hospital walls are governed by a number of variables that can be difficult to
control. A wireless LAN connection from a bedside cannot be as dependable as
a wired LAN connection.
The effect of low signal strength and interference on the display of the patient
information from a wireless bedside at the central station can range from a
momentary period to a lengthy period of data loss. Although data loss due to the
wireless link may be occurring at the central station, monitoring and alarming
continue at the bedside. (This differs from telemetry where monitoring and
alarming occur in the central station, so when data loss due to the wireless link
occurs, monitoring cannot continue.)
A bedside with a wireless LAN connection should not be used for primary
monitoring if occasional loss of data for documentation at the central
monitoring station is unacceptable, or if a guarantee of alarm notification at
the central station is required.
In order to minimize data loss at the central station due to low signal strength
and interference, there are several things a hospital should do.
Devices called "Access Points" are used to receive the radio signals from the
bedsides. A wireless bedside must be within the coverage area of an associated
access point for proper operation. When a wireless bedside is taken out of the
designated coverage area, data loss at the central station will increase.
Various equipment and/or other electrical or medical devices that operate
in the 2.4 to 2.48 GHz range could interfere with the radio transmission of
important medical data to the central station. Facilities utilizing wireless
devices need to manage their use of these devices for safe operation.
The effect of interference on the amount of data loss at the central station
depends on the strength, type and proximity of the interfering device to the
Which Networks are used with the M3046A?
Communicating with the Information Center