Networking

Digital hospital

Requirements for high-performing, secure network systems are on a steady rise and quality, as well as cost-efficiency, must be ensured. These developments can be attributed to medical advancements, mounting cost pressure, increased life expectancy of the population and basic legal requirements.

Highly available, secure and efficient network systems are essential for the operation of to-day’s modern hospitals in order to satisfy the requirements of medical engineering and to assure the availability of patient information. The foundation for this is a standardized network infrastructure. Installation and maintenance should be flexible components of this system and optimal protection of the investment as well as low operating costs should be ensured. In the future, electronic data processing will play an important role when it comes to organizational means and hospital equipment. For this very reason, all workplaces in a hospital must be interconnected with a data network. Only a comprehensive wiring system can meet the requirements of a modern hospital

A broad and generic cabling system may also contribute to the economic advantages of a hospital, since new equipment can be added at little expense. Besides improved performance, efficient networking of the various hospital units and departments promises improvements for everyone involved: patients, doctors, hospital administration and nursing staff. Patients can be treated within minutes by using the hospital information system (KIS). The attending physician simply retrieves the relevant patient information at the push of a button and can adjust the treatment to the need of the individual.

Digital patient information and images

with an electronic health record (EHR), the physician is able to obtain an accurate picture of the patient’s medical history with just a few clicks. The EHR records all patient data digitally and replaces the previous hardcopy format. This includes blood test results, clinical reports, laboratory findings, images from computer tomographs (CT), magnetic resonance tomo-graphs (MRT) and physiological data (ECG/EEG). All networked departments can enter their information into the system at any time for subsequent retrieval by any physician from any location: At the end of the patient’s treatment an invoice can be issued with a simple click of the mouse.

A generic wiring system, Ethernet and Internet protocols leading right to the hospital bed have additional advantages. Multimedia applications can be easily used. Another example with respect to greater security and increased comfort for the patient is the use of digital X-ray procedures. With this technology, X-ray images are stored digitally on a disk. This procedure reduces the patient’s exposure to radiation by an average of 30 to 60 percent and it also contributes to valuable improvements within the organization. A changeover from to digital X-raying can mean six-digit-figure savings.

Requirements on the bandwidth and availability of the networks

It goes without saying that commensurate investments have to be made in network infra-structure to ensure the electronic transmission, storage and archiving of X-ray and other high-tech images. A computer-generated tomography scan, for example, delivers 100 images of about 0.5 MB each. To keep network transmission times for this amount of data acceptable, communication channels must be designed for a bandwidth of at least 100 MB. The most important aspect of security for a hospital is uninterrupconventional ted availability of the system as well as protection from grid failures which is why investments in high-availability systems are essential. With simple, easily retrofitted solutions like the three-stage R&M security system, most problems caused by incorrect operation or manipulation can be prevented at the level of the passive infrastructure. Due to the huge responsibility towards patients as well as for economic reasons, it is important to obtain a full picture of solutions and products available on the market when it comes time to select hospital IT.

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