News | May 07, 2008

Doctors in Oregon Gain Mobile Access To Electronic Patient Records

May 8, 2008 - Women's Healthcare Associates (WHA) of Portland, OR has implemented a wireless solution from MERU Networks to give clinicians seamless wireless access to patient records on their mobile devices as they move from room to room in the system's six facilities.

In preparation for converting to an electronic medical records (EMR) system this year, Women's Healthcare Associates outfitted its facilities in Portland, Tualatin, Newberg, Sherwood and Beaverton with Meru equipment that supports both the new high-performance IEEE 802.11n wireless LAN standard and legacy 802.11a/b/g standards.

Gary Henderson, IT manager for WHA said the selection of MERU was based on the need to ensure uninterrupted connectivity for approximately 120 physicians and other medical staff as they move throughout the facilities providing patient care.

“Our most critical application, GE Centricity EMR, doesn't deal well with jumping between access points,” Henderson said. “If the application loses contact with the database, the connection fails, and it's very frustrating for the doctors to have to reconnect to the network. Unlike other vendors we evaluated, MERU puts all of its access points on the same channel, so that roaming between access points does not interrupt the application. This ensures that our doctors will have seamless mobility without the disruption of lost connections.”

WHA’s five clinical facilities and one administration building are each equipped with MERU dual-radio AP320 wireless access points, which deliver 802.11n draft 2.0 performance while simultaneously supporting legacy 802.11a/b/g devices. Each of the AP320’s two 802.11a/b/g/n radios provides capacity of up to 300 megabits per second and can operate at both 2.4 and 5 GHz. Redundant MERU MC3050 controllers provide centralized control and management for the geographically dispersed access points.

“MERU gave us an easy path to 802.11n, which we will ultimately be using throughout the network, because a faster application is better for our clinicians’ productivity,” Henderson said. "MERU equipment was also extremely easy to deploy because the single-channel approach eliminates the need for channel planning. And we’ll be able to easily add capabilities such as RFID and voice as we need them.”

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