Wireless communication is the transformation of information over a distance without the aid of wires, cables or any other form of electrical conductors. The distance of transmission can range from few meters to thousands of kilometers. In the healthcare industry, wireless communication is playing a vital role in the transformation of information; however, the technology is still at the nascent and is expected to have massive adoption in the foreseeable future. There is increasing demand in the healthcare industry to retrieve, store, share, and send data in a various format to various devices across a particular healthcare institution. Various consideration is required to be made while implementing wireless communication within a healthcare institutions such as systems capacity for transmitting voice, data, and video information as well as its reliability and coverage. Few of the wireless devices used across the healthcare institutions include laptops, tablets, personal digital assistants, and healthcare smart clothes that monitor heart rate and blood pressure
Applications of Wireless Technologies in Healthcare Industry
- Homecare and Telemedicine
- Inventory Control
- Pharmaceutical Sales Force Management
- Medical and Diagnostic Laboratory
- Patient Monitoring
An increasing number of the ageing population who requires continuous health monitoring is one of the factors which have triggered the concept of wireless technology driven human body and is the primary factor driving the adoption of wireless communication technologies in the healthcare industry. Examination of a human body can be achieved using a network of intelligent wireless medical devices sensors which may be attached to the body surface or integrated into the tissues. It enables doctors or nurses to predict and diagnose adverse events in advance. However, compatibility and interoperability issues across various healthcare device working on different communication technology are hampering the growth of the wireless communication technologies market.
Type of wireless communication technology:
Bluetooth is the wireless technology used for exchanging data over the short distance using the UHF radio waves. This technology was invented by telecom equipment vendor Ericsson.
- Radio Frequency Identification (RFID):
RFID is a wireless communication technology used for data transfer and identification of objects using electromagnetic waves. Healthcare industry is using RFID technology to adopt leaner supply chain practices associated with manufacturing to pare down cost and improve safety.
- Ultra Wide Band (UWB)
UWB is a radio technology that uses very low energy level for short range and high bandwidth communication over a large portion of the radio spectrum. Healthcare systems can be significantly improved with the lower coast and higher quality of services by using ultra wideband technology.
- WLAN and WWAN:
WLAN and WWAN are two types of wireless area networks that provide connectivity on the go. WLAN stands for wireless local area network, and it typically covers all small areas such as clinics. On the other hand, WWAN stands for wireless wide area networks that covers much larger area that is outside the limits of WLAN
- Wi-Fi and Li-Fi
Wi-Fi is a communication technology which is leveraged in a variety of healthcare applications such as infusion pumps, oxygen monitoring devices, and smart beds. In the foreseeable future, Li-Fi might replace Wi-Fi in the healthcare applications as Wi-Fi technology always possess a threat of overlapping of two radio waves with different frequencies which may lead to an improper diagnosis of the patient.
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North America region represent largest market opportunity for wireless communication technologies in the healthcare market. The U.S. and Canada are spending a huge amount of money in healthcare IT to address chronic diseases. Smartphone and customized wireless healthcare solutions are acting as a catalyst for healthcare institutions to improve patient care in these countries.
In Asia-Pacific region, healthcare providers are more focused on safe, quality, and equitable healthcare services in a cost-effective manner. In order to provide healthcare services to increasing chronic aging population, healthcare organizations are improving their infrastructure by deploying various wireless communication technology based infrastructure.
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The IT spending in healthcare on the rise in the European region. Hospitals are increasingly adopting wireless infrastructure to co-ordinate day-to-day activities, reduce human errors, limit operational costs, and stay ahead in terms of offering customer centric quality service. In healthcare IT technology providers increasingly expanding their business in these regions. Growing private healthcare infrastructure and increasing government investments is driving the adoption of wireless infrastructure in the healthcare sector of Latin America and the Middle East and Africa regions.
Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Inc., Extreme Networks Inc., Cerner Corporation, Cisco Systems, Inc., and GE Healthcare are some of the leading player dealing with global wireless communication technologies in the healthcare industry.
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