GE Healthcare, Ascom Offer Wireless IP Phones for Health Care

General Electric’s Healthcare division and Ascom Wireless Solutions announced an agreement to implement a hospital system that would send alerts from patient-monitoring devices directly to a caregiver via paging or text messaging. Wireless solutions within hospitals enable greater mobility on the part of doctors and nurses, in theory leading to boosted efficiency. GE’s investments in health care IT include a 2009 partnership with Intel that focuses on development programs for fall prevention, medication compliance, sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and personal wellness monitoring.

General Electric’s Healthcare division will integrate its patient-monitoring platform into wireless VOIP (voice over IP) phones, pager and DECT handsets designed by Ascom Wireless Solutions, under an agreement announced April 27. The technology merger will enable a hospital-centric wireless messaging system capable of sending alerts and providing patient information to caregivers on the move.

A joint press release from GE Healthcare and Ascom, quoting “a recent Spyglass Consulting Group report,” indicated that 66 percent of “hospital-based nurses said their organizations had deployed VoIP-based communications to enable greater mobility, so they can perform their jobs more efficiently at the point of care.”

Once put into effect, the agreement will see a patient’s alerts coalesced from varying sources and delivered wirelessly to a caregiver’s device via either paging or text message. The system will involve linking those devices to patient-monitoring technology.