Senior Living & Skilled Nursing

Why Senior-Living Facilities Need Great Wi-Fi

By September 15, 2017 No Comments

Research shows that the more sophisticated a health care facility’s IT systems are, the more likely its patients are to have better outcomes. For example, electronic health records (EHRs) help minimize errors and speed diagnoses.

That’s true not only for hospitals and ambulatory clinics, but also senior- and assisted-living facilities. The research highlights the need for enterprise-grade Wi-Fi, the kind that provides fast, reliable, seamless coverage in every room, common area and office.

It’s also the kind that senior-living facilities typically lack, especially those in rural areas.

“The benefits of IT sophistication do not differ based on geography,” says Greg Alexander, a University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing professor who conducted a national assessment. “However, we found a significant gap in IT sophistication between rural and urban areas.”

Wi-Fi is a key part of that sophistication. For example, it’s a convenient, cost-effective and safe way to enable Internet of Things (IoT) applications, such as sensors for identifying when residents have fallen in their room. Unlike fiber and copper, Wi-Fi doesn’t require a cable to each IoT device, eliminating trip hazards for residents and staff alike. Going wireless also minimizes construction expenses such as fishing miles of cable.

Wi-Fi is already built into the tablets and other handheld technologies that today’s caregivers rely on for applications such as EHR access and VoIP telephony. So by adding an enterprise-grade WLAN, senior-living facilities can leverage those devices and applications to improve care quality and maximize productivity. For example, when caregivers have information at their fingertips, they’re less likely to make mistakes. They also work more efficiently because they’re not constantly trekking back to an office to access a resident’s EHR or check voicemail.

Samsung’s WLAN solutions have the features necessary to support these and other senior-living applications. Some examples:

  • The AirEqualizer traffic scheduling technology optimizes Wi-Fi service by allocating equal airtime to multiple devices, so all simultaneously connected users get the resources they need. AirEqualizer also can maximize the AP’s total cell throughput by more than 50 percent compared to competitors’ products by adapting to the Wi-Fi standard (11 a/b/g/n/ac) in use and by the signal intensity characteristics.
  • Each Samsung AP has 15 antennas: three for monitoring, and 12 that optimize their signal beam based on the environment. Known as Intelligent Beam Selectable Antenna, this feature minimizes dead zones, extends service coverage and has a receiving sensitivity 2 dB higher than competing APs.
  • Samsung APs feature a dedicated chip for continuous real-time security monitoring, which helps the facility comply with HIPAA and other privacy laws. This approach reduces the amount of standalone security equipment that the facility needs, helping keep the total WLAN system cost within budget.

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