Thai Hospital to Dispense Medicines Using Motorola Wireless

Bumrungrad International Hospital plans to install a wireless system including Motorola handheld devices at its facilities to allow doctors and nurses to access electronic medical records.

The wireless system will fill a gap at the hospital as it works to install computers in every patient room. The computer project will take three years to complete, yet administrators want health professionals to be able to take advantage of digital data at the hospital anytime, anywhere.

The hospital is buying Motorola MC50 rugged handheld digital assistants for its medical staff. The devices can be used in several ways, including communications, to access medical records and to scan barcodes on medicine labels to ensure they go to the right patient.

"We need to provide mobile computing to our clinicians, whether nurses or doctors," said Chang Foo, chief technology officer at Bumrungrad.

Bumrungrad is famous as a place for vacationers in Asia to stop in for anything from a check up to major surgery. The electronic medical record system it developed with software maker Global Care Solutions was bought by Microsoft and is now being sold throughout Asia as the Amalga HIS system.

The new wireless system will begin running next month, Chang said.

Motorola started working with Bumrungrad a few years ago on wireless projects and the barcode system at its hospital, said John Cunningham, Director of RFID and wireless for Motorola's enterprise mobility business in Asia.

The MC50s will first be used in medication. Ensuring patients receive the right medication at the right dosage and time is a major concern for hospitals, so the MC50's barcode readers will be used to ensure each patient receives the correct drugs by scanning barcodes on the patient's wristbands and matching them to barcodes on the drug packages.

The MC50 uses Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS and will be able to run the Amalga HIS software already in use at Bumrungrad later this year so that electronic medical records can be accessed on the handhelds.

Hospital workers will also be able to make calls on the handhelds using VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) over the Wi-Fi system at Bumrungrad.

The hospital wanted to avoid having workers use their own mobile phones due to the private medical data that will be viewed on the Motorola handhelds. Hospital property is easier to secure.

Cunningham estimates that around 30 to 40 hospitals in Asia are using mobile computers so far and that there will be even more orders over the next six months.

"In health care, this is probably the number one area of interest [in Asia]," he said. "These hospitals have got to modernize."

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