A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Enterasys Networks has found that resellers have only sold WiFi solutions to a third (36 percent) of NHS trusts for patients.
With NHS spending set to rise by 4.2 percent this year, reaching an annual spend of £830m by 2015-16, this presents resellers serving the healthcare sector with an opportunity to upgrade outdated network infrastructures.
Mark Pearce, strategic alliance director at Enterasys Networks (pictured) says: “There are so many ways that WiFi can be used to benefit patients as well as staff in the healthcare sector, yet it’s one of the slowest to seize the opportunity that BYOD offers. The public has a growing appetite to be connected, and the technology is there to make it happen securely, safely and reliably.”
The survey of 78 acute NHS trusts also found that the lack of WiFi being offered to patients extended to NHS staff too. 82 percent of NHS Trusts don’t permit staff to connect personal devices to the hospital WiFi network. Meanwhile, just 10 percent of NHS Trusts have a formal BYOD policy for staff in place today.
Mahmood Chaudhri, managing director at Datrix, a specialist healthcare reseller claims that, “With so few NHS staff or patients yet to benefit from the BYOD revolution, the healthcare sector is clearly ripe for resellers to add real value by adding WiFi to their portfolio. If resellers are willing to put in the work with WiFi they can quickly come out on top quickly, at a time where budgets are being squeezed to the maximum,”
Pearce believes that if the Government really wants to invest in and improve the NHS, incentivising trusts to open their WiFi networks and expand connectivity is an inexpensive way to make a huge difference to each both patient and staff.
Several experts including Harley Street psychotherapist, Jennifer Dew MSc Dip Psch (couns), MBACP (accred) believe many patients can feel disconnected from family and friends during their recuperative period. “Patients who can regularly access family and friends using personal devices while they recuperate suffer less from isolation and loneliness and are more likely to make a speedier recovery. If access to WiFi helps to make some patients get better sooner, what’s not to like?”
Pearce concludes: “The key to making this a success would be a robust strategy for hospitals to embrace the use of mobile devices to connect safely and securely – a bring your own device (BYOD) policy delivered by approved resellers – for patients, visitors and staff.”
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