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Oberon Inc.: Wireless Networks in Healthcare

by Julie Clark on April 24, 2014

Wireless Networks in Healthcare

tablet medical staffAccording to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is estimated that there were 1.7 million Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) in the U.S. in 2002, resulting in nearly 99,000 deaths, most often when patients with compromised immune systems were infected. It is estimated that the cost to treat each HAI is between $40,000 and $60,000, with the costs of treatment lying with the facility where the infection originated. Because some of the most common HAIs are Airborne Infectious Diseases, hospitals and medical facilities must take extra precautions to prevent the spread of nuclei and dust from cable routing spaces, including areas above ceilings, behind walls, often disturbed during construction, renovation and maintenance. As such, a comprehensive environmental plan to address HAIs in the medical facility must include control of the source and spread of Airborne Infectious Diseases. 

Many facilities today commonly implement moves, adds and changes, or MAC work. Installation of a wireless access point, or WAP, is one of the popular additions to medical facilities today, as WAPs allow staff and visitors to connect to WiFi throughout the facility. When WAPs are installed, simply poking a hole through the ceiling or lifting the ceiling tile to route cable is critically dangerous. Gaps created around the cable or by lifting ceiling tiles provide an opening for the transmission of Airborne Infectious Diseases, as well as degrading specified air pressure, Burn Ratings and smoke barriers. 

To protect against environmental degradation, the Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation has established procedures for mitigating the spread of infectious disease and contamination. One of these procedures is to establish Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) procedures. 

TIA-1179 indicates that "Infection control requirements (ICR) could have a serious impact on the times and conditions for cabling installation, moves, adds and changes, as well as restrictions to removing ceiling tiles, wall penetrations and access to unoccupied spaces". Consideration of the expense of removing or even lifting ceiling tiles suggests that healthcare facilities management must carefully consider how wireless access points are installed, maintained, and secured in healthcare facilities. 

Recognizing that the space above a suspended ceiling may accumulate spores and pathogens, Oberon enclosures provide access to wireless LAN access points and telecom equipment without entering the air handling space. Oberon's wireless LAN access point ceiling mounted enclosures and mounting solutions offer a convenient means to install and secure the wireless infrastructure. The plenum rated, UL Listed enclosures have a "solid" back box, so they are an effective dust barrier. Installation of data cables is simple: cables are pulled through a foam plug to retain dust resistance and preserve the fire rating of the ceiling. Once the enclosure is installed, access points can be conveniently serviced or replaced.

Enclosures simplify Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) compliance. By moving the Wireless AP inside the enclosure, it can be accessed without breaching the space above the suspended ceiling. Left- Oberon model 1052-00 with 4 Oberon ZDUAL Wi-Fi antennas mounted on the door. Right-Oberon Model 1059-00, with impact resistant, UL ABS door. Click here for full product details.





Topics: Oberon

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