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In hospitals and other healthcare settings, wireless devices aren't limited to smartphones and tablets. Monitors that measure patients' vital signs and infusion pumps are among the medical devices that rely on wireless technology.

Until now, many healthcare facilities have tried to block patients' phones and other devices from their wireless networks, but that's changing. Scripps Health's new universal wireless network, designed to accommodate its mobile support services at the Scripps Coastal Medical Center in Oceanside, California, is believed to be the first of its kind in San Diego County.

MobiHealth News reported that the company's infrastructure has the ability to isolate bandwidth segments to allow different types of devices - used by staff, visitors and patients - to work simultaneously.

Trying new technologies is commonplace in the healthcare profession. The most recent annual National Physicians Survey found that most doctors viewed faxing as the dominant method of communicating with colleagues, patients, insurance companies and pharmacists. Online fax services can provide the high level of security needed to fax confidential documents, protect patients' privacy and send authorized signatures.

Expanding the wireless network at medical centers is starting to take off as a national coalition works toward developing a system to enable wireless technology in all healthcare settings.

At least six hospitals have installed what is dubbed "medical grade wireless open framework." Among them are Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California, and the Health Alliance Hospital in Leominster, Massachusetts.

Eventually, Scripps Health expects to install similar systems in all its buildings, including four hospitals. In addition, the medical company is represented on the West Wireless Health Council's executive committee in California, which has proposed a standardized architecture to turn wireless data into a utility, in the same way that electricity or water delivery is treated.

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