When hospitals use state-of-the-art technology successfully, they can improve patient comfort and healing, enhance employee communication and even revolutionize how people get and stay healthy.

Using technology in this capacity typically requires an Internet of Things (IoT) framework; in other words, technology needs to be integrated and devices need to be connected to the network to gather, report on and react to data.

One example of a hospital embracing this challenge is Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas – a 544,000-square-foot, $295 million LEED Gold hospital that houses 211 beds, plus operating rooms and space for diagnostic and therapeutic services.

As a teaching hospital, it supports medical education and collaboration among doctors, nurses, researchers, staff, students, patients and families. Because of this, team members chose to embrace IoT in healthcare early on, deploying connected devices and technology.

Read on to learn about three obstacles that Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas overcame to put technology-driven healthcare at the forefront for better patient communication and outcomes.

1. The Need for 24/7 Uptime

The risks associated with network downtime make IoT seem hard to achieve in 24/7 environments like hospitals. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find a healthcare provider that could function for very long without access to its network.

The majority of systems and devices now connect to the internet – so downtime means that almost everything comes to a halt if connections go down. In a healthcare facility, this puts lives on the line.

To make sure that unplanned downtime wasn’t an issue, the medical center decided to invest in cabling and connectivity that could support state-of-the-art technology for years to come, along with higher-wattage power levels and increasing numbers of network-connected devices.

2. A Harsh Plenum Environment

A hospital’s above-ceiling environment can be challenging to work around when it comes to cable installation. High temperatures; frequent maintenance, repairs and upgrades to add new equipment; and abandoned cable left in cable trays can all lead to difficult pulls and drop lengths reaching maximum distances.

To make sure it could run cable through the plenum space without any performance issues, Dell Seton Medical Center chose a small-diameter cable to reduce space requirements and cable weight. This also makes it faster and easier to install in plenum spaces while maximizing limited fill pathways.

Knowing that the cable would need to continue to perform despite higher temperature levels, they chose a cable with Bonded-Pair construction that helps ensure promised performance levels. Belden’s 10GXS Cable – the solution that was deployed – is the market’s only small-diameter cable proven to reach a full 100 m channel without overheating or suffering from performance degradation.

cabling at Dell Seton

3. High-Wattage Power Requirements

In order to embrace IoT in healthcare – or anywhere – Power over Ethernet (PoE) is key. When you consider the types of devices being deployed and the vital benefits they provide, the need for power is increasing (and will continue to do so in the future).

Today, screens inside Dell Seton patient rooms connect wirelessly to employee badges. When a staff member enters a room, information from the ID badge appears on the screen so the patient knows who they are. Upon discharge, a video is sent to the screen, sharing care instructions with the patient before he or she leaves.

Nurse speaking with patient about tv functionality at Dell Seton

Nearly everything inside the medical center’s operating rooms is computerized and connected as well. For example, cameras embedded inside overhead lights allow other trauma teams to watch surgeries remotely in real time. High-resolution scans and MRI files can also be transmitted back and forth quickly on the network.

By using a PoE cable, Dell Seton Medical Center can connect devices to the network by using only one cable that carries data and power. In the future, as higher-wattage PoE becomes necessary to support more advanced medical equipment, the hospital will be ready to support 100W PoE without concerns about cable temperature rise or poor cable performance.

Supporting Future Technology

Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas’ chosen cabling and connectivity solution ensures that technology works seamlessly – without any performance, communication or connectivity issues – so staff, patients and family members can focus on health, wellbeing and recovery.

Due to how well Belden’s solutions support IoT in healthcare, Belden 10GXS Category 6A Cables and 10GX connectivity are now part of the organization’s infrastructure standards.

How have you seen IoT in healthcare make a difference in communication and recovery? Tell us in the comments below! Have questions about how to prepare your network for IoT? Contact us so we can answer your questions!

Dell Seton medical center