recommended reading

VA kicks off Wi-Fi buy, plans national rollout

The Veterans Affairs Department kicked off a procurement to install a patient Wi-Fi system in its Augusta, Ga., hospital and eventually plans to install patient wireless systems in all 152 hospitals nationwide, a regional VA information technology official told Nextgov.

Michael Lay, director of service delivery and engineering for VA hospitals in the South and parts of the Midwest, said the department plans to release a request for proposals for a national patient Wi-Fi system later this year, but the Augusta hospital did not want to wait and put out its solicitation Jan. 5, with responses from vendors due Feb. 17. The Augusta hospital wants its Wi-Fi system turned on 90 days after contract award.

Roger Baker, VA's chief information officer, said in a June 2010 interview with Nextgov that he considered various business models to pay for Wi-Fi systems, including advertising-funded installation and operation or pay-as-you-go plans. Lay said VA now considers patient Wi-Fi service on a par with the telephone and television service the department provides patients, a point reinforced in the language of the Augusta contract documents.

The statement of work for the Augusta patient Wi-Fi system said, "VA recognizes that its patient population and family members use the Internet as a means of both researching information as well as remaining in communication with friends and family members on a near-constant basis. As a result, it is our desire to provide these patients and their family members' access to the Internet to allow them to continue their communication."

VA currently has wireless networks in all its hospitals but the patient Wi-Fi systems will operate as separate networks. The medical Wi-Fi networks have 400 to 500 access points to provide coverage for applications such as a medication system tied to bar code readers and pharmacy networks that ensure patients receive the right medications in the correct dose at the correct time. Lay said the patient Wi-Fi system will not need as many access points. The number of access points will vary depending on a hospital's size.

In a related development, the Camp Pendleton, Calif., naval hospital plans to include patient Wi-Fi service through a contract that also will provide cable-television service in the 64-bed, 500,000-square-foot facility, making it one the few hospitals operated by the Military Health System to offer wireless Internet access to patients.

VA and the Military Health System lag private hospitals in providing Wi-Fi service to patients. Scripps Health, which operates six hospitals in the San Diego area, was the first health care organization to provide patient Wi-Fi in 2003. Since then, more than 300 private U.S. hospitals and another 400 worldwide offer the service.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.