- 21 Jun 2023
Closing the mobile coverage and connectivity gaps in healthcare
Ensuring hospital workers, patients and visitors stay connected to the people, services and applications that matter the most.
Listen to this article:
Hospitals are wrestling with the challenge of delivering the ultra-reliable and uninterrupted indoor mobile coverage that’s now needed to support staff and patients alike. Jinny Gill, Senior Business Development Manager at Cellnex UK, looks at how today’s 4G and 5G indoor mobile solutions are addressing coverage and capacity issues, and providing a solid foundation for smart digital hospitals.
Better and more robust in-building connectivity is becoming a must have for fulfilling the demands of today’s digital hospitals. Whether you’re a clinician, administrator, patient or visitor, the need to connect – and stay connected seamlessly – within hospital walls has never been greater.
In clinical settings, healthcare professionals now rely on mobile devices to consult with colleagues, access medical records and liaise with teams inside and outside the hospital. The same is true for operational staff such as facilities managers, hospital porters, as well as catering and maintenance teams. Meanwhile, personnel working in partnership organisations, such as retail and pharmacy outlets, pharmaceutical delivery firms and on-site food and laundry services, depend on mobile devices and therefore rely on in-building mobile connectivity to undertake their roles.
Enhancing the hospital environment
The rapid digitisation of patient services has resulted in people becoming more accustomed to using their smartphones to access healthcare services. Whether that’s using a hospital app for wayfinding and checking in to appointments, managing prescriptions, or receiving timely updates relating to an out-patient visit, mobile connectivity matters.
As a result, today’s digitally empowered patients and hospital visitors expect to encounter reliable coverage to stay connected with a wide range of health apps and services they now rely on. It’s also vital for ensuring patients can connect with family and friends or instantly tap into the information services they require.
Crucially, being able to reach out and communicate with loved ones is an important aspect of the patient experience. This can help reduce feelings of isolation and significantly contribute to a patient’s overall wellbeing. In fact, hospitals are increasingly encouraging patients to bring and use their own mobile device whenever they are admitted to hospital. The trouble is many locations don’t always have the required mobile coverage – and capacity – to keep everyone connected.
The indoor mobile coverage conundrum
As hospitals have developed, the complexities associated with the delivery of uninterrupted and consistent mobile coverage have increased. Thick walls, steel structures and the use of metallised glass in building design can all have a major impact on mobile signals – reducing strength or blocking them completely.
The result is poor or non-existent coverage. A scenario that’s set to worsen as today’s 4G networks transition to 5G connectivity, because 5G signals operate at a higher frequency making them even more sensitive to disruption by physical infrastructure.
In the face of surging demand for enhanced mobile connectivity from patients, visitors and staff, many hospitals are struggling to extend their slow and already overburdened WiFi networks.
The in-building solution
Today’s in-building connectivity solutions are making it easier for hospitals to increase coverage across the campus, while simplifying management and reducing costs.
Options like distributed antenna systems (DAS) now mean it’s possible to bring consistent 4G and 5G mobile signals wherever coverage is needed. These in-building solutions transmit the mobile signal from network operators and distribute them via a network of radio units and small antennas. The result is strong and consistent connectivity throughout assuring a best-in-class experience for users across all areas.
Cellnex In-Building Solutions are:
- Compatible with every mobile network operator – ensuring everyone is connected
- Installed and commissioned with minimal disruption to hospital operations
- Fully scalable and upgradeable – to support changing and evolving technologies and hospital needs
- Easy to access – there is no need for users or patients to log-in to a gated WiFi system
- Built to rigorous industry specifications– featuring network management and 24×7 monitoring as standard.
With extensive experience deploying in-building connectivity solutions to meet the specific needs of today’s healthcare providers, we understand the growing need for smart connectivity solutions that eliminate complexity and transform the indoor user experience.
To find out more, or discuss your specific requirements, get in touch at In-BuildingSolutions@cellnextelecom.co.uk