Talk about great ideas. The blog Medical Connectivity Consulting reports about a hospital that is now offering Wi-Fi Internet access to its patients. Here is the link to the original report and below is the quote from the blog.
The Richardson Regional Medical Center now provides free Wi-Fi Internet access to patients and visitors throughout the hospital. What started as a WLAN to support paperless charting became a broader deployment. Today, the entire hospital is on a Wi-Fi system. The system includes waiting rooms, patient rooms and associated medical office buildings. Access is also available to clinical personnel and for business functions. The clinical and business operations are completely separate from patient access so that no one can tap into the hospital's confidential records, [CIO Ronald] Franquiz said. "We definitely have total control to make sure that our business network and hospital network are not affected at all."
A few years back, my hospital, the University of Michigan Health System, launched a marketing campaign based on the slogan: Knowledge Heals. It was emblazoned on billboards on all of the surrounding interstate highways. I believed the sentiment expressed in this slogan then and I believe it now. When they launched the ad campaign, I wonder if they had patients in mind.
I would prefer to have every patient room equipped with a PC wired to the Internet but, for now, I will settle for Wi-Fi access. Every room should also come equipped with a list of the URLs of reliable medically-oriented web sites so that patients can browse the sites to read about their diagnoses, the drugs that are receiving, and relevant disease-oriented patient web sites so that they can join on-line discussion groups. How about access to details about controlled clinical trials?
The hospital should also purchase web access for all patients to the PDR, available on the web here. With this resource, they can review the side effects of their drugs and also see what their pills look like so that they and family members can monitor the drugs and dosages that they are receiving when the nurses say "swallow."
However, I also believe that patients should be on their own if they want to search for medical malpractice attorneys on the web.