During HIMSS21 in Las Vegas, Clinical Mobility founder and CEO Shawn Jackman presented his thoughts on the future of wireless technology for healthcare delivery organizations. The presentation was hosted by the Healthcare Technology Alliance (HTA) and AAMI (the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation) and in cooperation with ACCE (the American College of Clinical Engineering). Among dozens of potential topics, Jackman offered a business and technology perspective about three connectivity options of which healthcare IT organizations must soon determine their investments: CBRS, 5G, and Wi-Fi 6e.
Kicking off with Citizen Band Radio Service (CBRS), Jackman introduced the role of the OnGo Alliance and the key use cases for healthcare including clinical communications, IoT and tenant networks, indoor carrier coverage, and telemetry. In addition to a lower cost and simple deployment, CBRS is also reliable, offers good quality of service and security, enables seamless mobility, has a broad signal range despite an efficient use of spectrum, and better battery life.
Jackman cautioned that the use cases are still emerging but said that CBRS shows strong potential to replace expensive USE of DAS for indoor cellular, enables HDOs to deploy their own compatible devices, and gives network control to hospitals, not carriers.
Leaving the hype for the marketers, Jackman sorted facts about the impact of 5G for healthcare connectivity. Although 5G will fix many 4G problems, it will not be the technology revolution that the cellular carriers proclaim, he said. 5G will be important to support the accelerating adoption of telehealth, but a deployment of a 5G cellular network within a healthcare organization would be impractical from a financial perspective.
Finally, Wi-Fi 6. After covering a brief history of Wi-Fi and review of increasing spectrum availability (click here to hear the presentation!), Jackman covered the key benefits of Wi-Fi:
- Cost effective at scale: Effectively free from an endpoint perspective.
- Least resistance: Wi-Fi is in practically everything—even technology that doesn’t move.
- Backwards compatibility (a money-saving technological headache).
- Inferior roaming performance as compared to cellular/CBRS (LTE).
- How we connect indoors by default: home, offices, hotels, hospitals.
And while Wi-Fi is the world’s de facto connectivity method at home, work, and in public, it still requires advanced technical skills to deploy. According to Jackman, the protocols remain sloppy due to a lack of standardization. On the positive side, healthcare IT organizations are in full control of their Wi-Fi networks and can troubleshoot, collect data, and resolve issues relatively quickly.
For all these reasons, Jackman advised healthcare delivery organizations to investigate and begin planning for the implementation of Wi-Fi 6. Wireless equipment including laptops, new mobile devices, and access points already include the capability. The bottom line according to Jackman is that Wi-Fi 6 is inevitable and despite a checkered past, the solution has matured, and reliability is improving quickly. In summary, Jackman provided a comparison of the three technologies based on spectrum, usage, device population, cost to deploy, reliability, and complexity:
Click here to watch Shawn Jackman’s HIMSS21 presentation “The Future of Wireless for Healthcare Delivery Organizations”
Do you want to discuss your wireless needs? Contact Clinical Mobility now at +1 (925) 871-2704.