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Whatever the reason for a hospital visit, people need to communicate with family and friends and share important information. Whether you’re reaching out to a loved one about a diagnosis or posting an Instagram pic of a newborn baby, strong cellular connectivity is vital.However, cell phone reception in hospital buildings can often be problematic. In fact, hospitals are notorious for inadequate cellular coverage. While there can be several explanations for poor cell signal, one major reason is signal-blocking building materials used in construction. Hospital walls are often built with materials that obstruct cellular signals, including concrete, brick, and steel.

Cellular connection that relies on signal from outside cell towers must penetrate thick walls that are made to withstand fires, floods, hurricanes, and other disasters. Although it’s critical to safeguard a building filled with patients, flammable oxygen and other materials, a lack of cell service can be frustrating for patients, their families, and staff members that depend on cellular connectivity.

Cellular connection that relies on signal from outside cell towers must penetrate thick walls made to withstand fires, floods, hurricanes, and other disasters. Although protecting a building filled with patients, flammable oxygen and other materials is paramount, a lack of cell service can be frustrating for patients, their families, and staff members that depend on cellular connectivity.

Employees who carry hospital cell phones can sometimes find workarounds, including voice-over IP (VOIP) phones that work on hospital Wi-Fi. But this does little to help visitors make calls and employees to access cloud-based patient databases. While hospital staff rely on internet access to do their jobs, visitors and patients need to use their mobile phones to communicate with people outside of the hospital.

Why should you improve cell signal in hospitals?

Robust cell signal in hospitals and medical facilities streamlines communication and leads to a better healthcare experience for doctors, nurses, administrators, patients, and visitors. Here are some of the benefits of improving cell signal:

  • Quicker access to patient data and test results, expedited check-in times in crowded waiting rooms, and other increased efficiencies.
  • Faster transmission of large data files, such as MRIs, PET scans, and other medical imagery records, which helps doctors get the results they need faster.
  • Elimination of dead zones, dropped calls, and problem areas throughout large campuses and in older, thick-walled buildings constructed with signal-blocking materials.

These are just a few of the reasons that more and more hospitals are exploring cellular connectivity solutions to improve efficiencies and the overall visitor experience. Hospitals generally prohibit cellular voice calls in areas such as radiology, where they would disrupt critical procedures. 

Can you use cell phones in hospitals?

Some areas in hospitals prohibit cellular voice calls like in areas such as radiology, there is no incentive to improve signal because cellular voice calls can interfere with operations. In these no-call zones, poor cell coverage can benefit hospital staff by ensuring patients and visitors adhere to cell phone and other mobile-device restrictions.

Hospital administrators must strike a balance between providing better cellular coverage where staff, patients, and visitors need it, while also maintaining the integrity of cellular and device-free zones?

How to Improve Cell Signal in Hospitals by Zone

Using a zoned approach, you can improve cell signal in your hospital with a distributed antenna system (DAS), which WilsonPro provides. This technology boosts cell phone use in hospitals in various locations, bringing existing outdoor cellular signals into the building. These systems, also known as cell signal boosters, can be installed cost effectively.

A DAS solution is ideal for hospitals because it allows cellular coverage to be boosted in specific areas only where it is necessary or appropriate. For example, usage of hospital cell phones can be improved in waiting rooms, cafeterias, and other common areas, and signal is not boosted in areas where cellular calls would interfere with procedures.

Boosting your hospital’s cell signal is far simpler than you may think. Beginning with a site survey, a professional integrator uses a signal meter to determine where coverage is strongest and weakest throughout the building. Then, using a zoned approach, cell signal boosters can be added to the desired areas throughout the building.

How to Improve Cell Service in Hospitals with Passive DAS

While many hospitals immediately consider an active DAS solution to improve cell service connectivity, passive DAS is usually a better solution. Passive DAS captures existing cell signal from nearby cell towers, amplifies weak signal, and brings it inside the buildings. With active DAS, cell signal must be created.

WilsonPro Cellular Passive DAS Hospital Case Studies

The following real-life success stories highlight how healthcare professionals benefited from implementing WilsonPro cellular connectivity solutions. In these case studies, cell connectivity issues were resolved, leading to higher quality patient care.

CHOC Improves Hospital Signal with WilsonPro Passive DAS System

Doctors, administrators, visitors, and patients at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) were frustrated with poor cell signal reception throughout the hospital. They needed a cost-effective solution to improve signal on the over 450,000-square foot campus.

After exploring various solutions with different vendors, iCHOC decided to implement a WilsonPro DAS system. They reached out to WP Electric and Communications, a leading provider of data/voice cabling and electrical services.

CHOC’s IT professionals were initially apprehensive about the complexity of a large-scale installation. But, their concerns were alleviated when they learned that the WilsonPro DAS they were considering was a carrier-agnostic  solution and would enhance cell signal regardless of the mobile carrier.

With approximately 370 Wilson dome antennas, 34 WilsonPro cellular amplifiers, and about a million feet of coax cable, WP Electric completed the installation a month ahead of schedule with zero disruptions. To learn more about how CHOC solved their cellular connectivity issues, read the case study.

Cell Signal Booster Improves Patient Care at CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial Lufkin

Weak cell signal was causing communication havoc with the medical staff at CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial Lufkin, a 271-bed acute care facility in Texas. Cellular connectivity problems in the radiology department, operating rooms, staff meeting rooms, and upper patient floors led hospital administrators to explore potential solutions.

Like other hospital officials who face similar issues, administrators first considered an active DAS system, but their budget wasn’t aligned with the substantial expense. So, they turned to a WilsonPro-certified installer who designed a booster system with WilsonPro cellular amplifiers, targeting specific areas of the hospital that needed to be addressed.

Doctors, administrators, and staff members were pleased with the results. David Glenn, Market President of Physician Enterprises, said, “I believe it will lead to better care in our hospital.” Read the case study to learn more about how improved cellular connectivity contributed to better healthcare delivery.

Get Started Today

WilsonPro’s customized repeater and DAS solutions accommodate hospital areas of all sizes. From small waiting rooms to large cafeterias and back-office spaces, we can recommend a solution to boost cell phone reception and data speeds. If you’d like to learn how we can help you improve cell signal in your hospital, contact us today.

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