Late Breaking News
Dallas VAMC Tests Wireless Monitoring of Vital Signs; Rollout to Full VA Possible
Retrofitting VA Technology
Draeger is working with the manufacturer of its wireless radio to build a FIPS-compliant chip that will be available in late 2013, after which they will go back and retrofit all the technology installed in VA.
How many that will be in 2013 depends on the success of the Dallas VAMC rollout. According to Kurt Finke, VA’s director of healthcare technology, VA will be looking at how the system works over the long term. Not only will Draeger need to prove that the technology can be made FIPS-compliant by late 2013, but the system needs to be shown to be stable and reliable over the long term.
“It’s very important that the Wi-Fi network be very reliable,” Finke said. “Gaps in coverage or bringing down the system for maintenance for an hour or even for 15 minutes was tolerated for nonessential things. But when it’s supporting medical telemetry equipment, that can’t happen.”
According to Finke, VA will be watching how the system works at the Dallas VAMC for at least a year, if not longer, before installing the technology at other sites. Of the 152 VAMCs, 60 have robust enough Wi-Fi systems to use the technology, and 24 are expected to be upgraded soon. The technology is already in use at some military healthcare facilities, including Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and the David Grant USAF Medical Center in Fairfield, CA.
“It’s not necessarily true that this is the way we’re going to go in the future. But we’re watching carefully how things go in Dallas and see how that works,” Finke said.