Heart-Healthy Wireless Networks and the Future of Remote Healthcare

By Amanda Kowalik   May 7, 2015

Wireless networks can keep patients healthier. Want proof? According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, merging wireless technology and medical care can reduce emergency room admissions and lead to better preventative care.

The article leads with a heart disease patient who takes his blood pressure and blood oxygen levels at home, in addition to weighing himself. This data is transmitted to his doctor, who analyzes it and makes adjustments to the patient’s blood pressure medication regimen without a checkup. In addition to monitoring known conditions, medical professionals can use these patient-generated data feeds to spot abnormalities that they would want to investigate with an in-person check-up. 

Reported results are positive: One hospital in North Carolina noted that through remote healthcare monitoring, hospital admissions fell 74 percent in 2013 and an additional 54 percent in the first eight months of 2014. A medical center in Pennsylvania noticed that fewer of its congestive heart failure patients were readmitted to the hospital if they participated in a pilot remote monitoring program.

Using wireless technology to transmit this potentially lifesaving data would be invaluable in any setting, from the case studies on cardiovascular patients outlined above to monitoring outbreaks in unconnected or under-connected areas. However this influx of data begs for a networking solution that allows for custom prioritization such that doctors and nurses see first what needs to come to their immediate attention.

With our experience in handling different types of data, Cambium Networks’ equipment has been engineered to prioritize traffic such that network operators can maximize performance based on subscribers’ usage patterns and needs. Our software can also dedicate data rates to certain bandwidth-intensive applications such that users who mainly go online for checking email and web surfing aren’t adversely affected by users who frequently stream video or make VoIP calls, for example. To apply these attributes to remote healthcare monitoring, our equipment can prioritize traffic and dedicate data rates to monitoring high-risk, in-hospital patients, and relegate data from discharged patients who are self-monitoring their conditions from home to lower rates, just as an example.

We believe that the future of healthcare and achieving better patient outcomes hinges on increased adoption of remote monitoring technologies and a deep understanding of what information it can provide. To this end, we are continually developing our wireless broadband technology to ensure that it meets the needs of healthcare professionals today and tomorrow.

As with any burgeoning breakthrough, the more data we have on how remote monitoring supports higher quality medical care, or the more feedback we receive to inform our research and development, the better. If you operate or have built a network for remote healthcare purposes, we’d love to hear about your experiences on our forum or in the comments below.