By John Bethune

September 6, 2013—In a session this week at the 2013 NCBA Symposium in Concord, NC, Mark Boyd, CPHIMS, laid out the complex new landscape of device and EMR integration in the hospital setting. “We’re entering a brand-new game,” Boyd said.

At the September 5 seminar, Boyd and his co-presenter, Bobby Claborn, CCNP, both senior solutions architects for Philips Healthcare, described the challenges that both his company and biomeds face in integrating their devices into hospitals’ enterprise IT systems. Suppliers like Philips, they said, are working to become much more IT friendly, and moving away from the “sandboxed,” self-contained networks they used to employ. By using hospital-supplied networks instead of proprietary ones, Boyd said, the effect is to make biomedical technicians more involved with their enterprise IT peers. “See how you’re getting closer to these folks now?” Boyd asked his audience.

The same trend is underway with wireless networks, Claborn said. While previously “almost every vendor had a proprietary wireless system,” most are now integrating with existing 802.11 systems. While that leads to what Claborn sees as some compromises, Bradley added that “there’s no right or wrong answer” when it comes to choosing between vendors’ and hospitals’ wireless infrastructures.

Bradley emphasized that for biomeds, the key lesson is to learn as much as they can about networking. “You don’t want to sit like a deer in the headlights when you meet with IT,” he said. “You need to be familiar with all this.”

John Bethune is Editorial Director of 24×7. He can be reached at [email protected].