Baystate Health Is Named One of the Nation’s Most Wireless Health Networks

SPRINGFIELD — A national survey and study has identified Baystate Health as one of the most wireless health providers in the U.S.

Baystate, which has offered patients and visitors free wireless Internet service throughout its facilities since 2005, was the first hospital in the region to do so, and continues to expand wireless coverage into more areas. The ‘most wireless’ recognition — given by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine in conjunction with computer chip maker Intel Corp., the American Hospital Assoc., the consulting firm Accenture, medical products company McKesson, and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives — identifies hospitals that have embraced wireless technology and leveraged it to improve patients’ experience and support the work of their doctors, nurses and staff.

Baystate is one of 25 health systems in the country to receive the ‘most wireless’ honor, and has been recognized twice in three years.

“The most important benefit of wireless access is it improves the experience of patients and their families, making it easier for them to stay connected to the outside world during their time in the hospital,” said Mark B. Gorrell, vice president of Information Services and Chief Information Officer for Baystate Health. “It also helps our doctors access the most up-to-date medical information practically anywhere in the hospital. For these reasons, making our organization as wireless as possible has been a priority for a long time.”

Baystate is now working to ensure that its Hospital of the Future, expected to open in 2012, will have the one of the most advanced and most extensive hospital wireless networks in the nation. “When we make patients’ time in the hospital feel like time at home — as comfortable as possible, with easy connections to friends, family, and the latest news and entertainment — we’re helping them feel better, and get better,” said Gorrell. “That’s obviously our most important goal, and that’s just one way the Hospital of the Future is going to be a customized patient experience.”

Wireless transmission of information demands the highest standard of security, especially when confidential health data are involved, said Rick Oliveri, director of Technology Management for Baystate Health. “We’re constantly checking and double-checking to ensure that all confidential medical information is completely secure and is protected by top-of-the-line encryption.”

Wireless access is widespread throughout the Baystate Health network, from Baystate Medical Center in Springfield to Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield and Baystate Mary  Lane Hospital in Ware. Wireless access is also available at all Baystate neighborhood health centers and all Baystate Medical Practices physician offices.