Wireless hardware for hospitals

Symbol Technologies has unveiled plans to target local hospitals as it ramps up its regional activities.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  July 4, 2001

Symbol Technologies has unveiled plans to target local hospitals as it ramps up its regional activities.

The wireless hardware specialist has already visited a number of the regions health institutions, including the King Feisal Specialist Hospital in Saudi Arabia.

Whilst the company’s bar code scanning technology is already an important part of many hospital practices in the Middle East, it hopes that its handheld devices will become as commonplace as stethoscopes on the region’s wards.

The device will allow staff to access medical applications, such as those developed by Health Information Systems, at the patients bedside. This in turn will help reduce errors and increase productivity.

“Doctors have to prescribe drugs on weight so, instead of having to do calculations in their heads, they just put the weight and the drug into the handheld and the dose is calculated for them,” says Jeffrey Schou, director for healthcare markets, Symbol Technologies.

“It is also possible to have software running that will flag errors, for example when two drugs that are not compatible are prescribed together. The benefits of this are obvious, as even misplacing a decimal point can be very costly in terms of patient well being,” he adds.

In addition to reducing errors on the ward, the system helps correct mistakes at the pharmacy end as all the information is linked into the same system.

Any hospital that chooses a Symbol solution will have to dig deep. Although the total cost of purchase depends on what exactly is being installed, the basic package will cost approximately $50,000 per ward.

Sunil Chadha, area manager for the Middle East, Symbol Technologies, explained that the company would consider giving discounts to early adopters whilst Schou explained that the system pays for itself within a matter of months – even without taking into account the cost of liability in severe cases of erroneous prescription.

Whilst Symbol will survey client sites to establish where the wireless receivers need to be placed to maximise coverage, local partner DCS will handle instillations and application training.

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