Asee peer logo

Wireless Networks In The Health Care Industry: A Disconnect

Download Paper |


2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Emerging Information Technologies

Tagged Division

Information Systems

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1376.1 - 15.1376.10



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Nipul Patel Purdue University, North Central

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract


Wireless networking is relatively new and exciting technology for health care. Using handheld peripherals and wireless networking technologies, medical professional can have omnipresent access to patient information, clinical functions, and business functions. Wireless networks bring information access, data collection capabilities, and clinical applications closer to the point of care than is possible using wired networks. State of the art health-monitoring devices using wireless technologies offer a convenient means to monitor and manage patients with chronic diseases in their homes. Hand-held applications present convenient, non-invasive solutions for meeting new requirements to reduce errors and to increase patient safety. Wireless devices also enable medical professionals to access patient data in the hospital’s clinical data repository. This on hand means to access data would increase productivity, reduce billing errors, and improve the quality of care. Wireless networks are also attractive to the information technology (IT) professional because they are relatively easy and inexpensive to deploy, with minimal disruption to operations.

Maintaining the security, performance and reliability of a wireless LAN is challenging due to the uniqueness of the healthcare setting. In the mission-critical environment of healthcare, delivering the very best in patient care requires all medical professionals to be accessible and instantly able to reach colleagues as well as access all patient data.

A disconnect does exist between the healthcare industry’s enthusiastic endorsement of wireless technologies and existing vulnerabilities in wireless technology. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) ensures regulations of protecting patient records, especially private information against unauthorized access. However, the increasingly popular wireless network devices used in healthcare facilities, though convenient and timesaving, increases the administration difficulty of network security. This paper provides an overview and guide for healthcare managers with limited IT resources yet greater need to deal with the information security threats through wireless communication.

The Growth of Mobility The world is in the midst of a wireless communications revolution. The most visible aspect of this global revolution is the explosive growth of cell phones, both in the United States and abroad. Other key elements of the revolution include advances in short- and medium-range digital networks that expand the power of cell phone networks, in sensors that enable remote monitoring, and in the batteries that power portable devices.

Together, these innovations are creating a pervasive broadband wireless environment that can support a wide range of new uses. While most wireless applications to date have focused on providing mobile communications, information, and entertainment, a growing number of applications related to health are appearing. These applications hold the potential to improve health care delivery, reduce costs, increase the efficiency and effectiveness of health care providers, and make services more convenient for patients.

Patel, N. (2010, June), Wireless Networks In The Health Care Industry: A Disconnect Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16406

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015