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Wi-Fi used for hospital security

A hospital in Spain has installed a Wi-Fi-based tracking system to improve security in its A&E department.

The 12 de Octubre Hospital, in Madrid, will provide its emergency room staff with Wi-Fi tags that include a “panic button”. This device can be pushed in the event of a security concern, such as assault or robbery.

The tags, deployed by Spanish technology firm Indra, are based on software by Ekahau that work with a hospital’s existing Wi-Fi infrastructure.

The panic button application will alert the hospital’s security department, enabling them to know exactly where the incident has occurred and so respond promptly.

The system also enables hospitals to use the same Wi-Fi infrastructure to create secure access zones within a building. This allows users to detect unauthorised access to restricted areas and track the location of assets to prevent loss or theft of critical equipment.

Antti Korhonen, president and CEO of Ekahau, said: “The Ekahau Positioning Engine helps hospitals capitalise on their existing Wi-Fi infrastructure.

“Not only can they quickly and cost-effectively deploy new applications – like the Indra’s panic button application – but new applications can easily be added to improve reporting, compliance and workflow within a healthcare setting.”

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“Improved security means an increased loss of privacy, but we should firstly give priority to the security of health workers and patients. An intelligent combination of personal and machinery location control by Wi-Fi or RF, plus efficient access control to restricted areas, would be optimal to me. Our working time at hospitals should be primarily dedicated to it.” – Lorenzo Ponz, Institute Oncology, Spain