802.11b WLANs Deployed in Elder Care Facilities

3Com Corporation announced today that it is in the process of deploying 802.11b WLANs in ten elder care facilities run by Rice Management, Inc. The facilities, based in Wisconsin and Michigan, will use the WLANs to increase the efficiency and accuracy of patient care.

Prior to this technological tranistion, caregivers used handwritten charts on location and then entered requisite information into the Rice Management database. The facilities themselves house between 47 and 160 residents, and the nature of the population inherently generated specific data based on individualized treatment plans and medical records. This made data collection and retrieval cumbersome and subject to inaccuracies.

The new wireless LANs use 3Com’s AirConnect wireless access points and PC LAN cards. Caregivers with the wireless laptops can enter and retrieve data at the point of collection or need for such information.

The AirConnect solution from 3Com is Wi-Fi certified by the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA), meaning that it is interoperable with other Wi-Fi certified equipment. It features 40- and 128-bit WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) encryption, ensuring patient record security. It supports WLAN speeds of 1, 2, 5.5, and 11 Mpbs.

Currently, five of the 10 facilities are using the 802.11b WLAN solution from 3Com. The companies reported that the other five facilities will be equivalently equipped by mid-September, 2001. Rice Management’s controller stated that the company plans to equip all future facilities with the WLANs.

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