Hospital techies urge limits on 'white space' Wi-Fi

Author: Anne Broache

Hospital administrators and medical device manufacturers fear unlicensed use of "white spaces" spectrum between television channels could interfere with medical devices. "If a new white space application that's operating thousands of times more powerfully came online, either in the hospital or outside the hospital, it could very well directly interfere with the telemetry system and prevent patient monitoring," Tim Kottak, engineering general manager for GE Healthcare's systems and wireless division, said in a telephone interview with CNET this week. "The whole system could be taken out, just like what happened at Baylor." Since the late 1980s, medical telemetry devices, as they're known, have been used in virtually every hospital throughout the United States to keep tabs on patients' vital signs, such as their heart rate and blood oxygen levels, Kottak said.



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