New Hospitals Investing in Wireless Technology
The demand for wireless computer devices in the health care industry is likely to increase "dramatically," according to a report from the banking firm W.R. Hambrecht & Co. The Baltimore Business Journal reports that while less than 1% of physicians use such devices today, by 2004 more than 20% of U.S. physicians will use handheld computers. Handheld computer devices will allow doctors to view patient information, access medical reference databases and file claims with insurers. Despite the high initial costs, the Baltimore Business Journal reports that some hospitals are already being "lured" by the potential of "improved patient care" and are incorporating wireless technology, such as Palm Pilots, laptops, wireless phones and mobile compact computers, into their facilities. For example, Johns Hopkins Hospital opted for a "multimillion dollar investment" and installed "high tech" wireless capabilities in its new cancer center. St. Agnes Hospital also has started a wireless project and estimates the final cost at $10 million over five years. Bill Greskovich, head of information technology at St. Agnes Hospital, said, "Wireless is it. It addresses the mobile worker ... who's more mobile than health care workers?" Stephanie Reel, vice president of information systems at Johns Hopkins Medicine, said, "The most important lesson we learned is that the technology is best if it is ubiquitous. If you have boundaries, people don't use it as much" (Graham, Baltimore Business Journal, 1/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.