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Cardiac Services works with Philips to solve telemetry issue for university hospital

Issue

Six years after installation, Cardiac Services began to receive reports from the clinical engineers at the busy hospital about dropouts in signal in their telemetry system. The problem was intermittent loss of random telemetry signals, meaning affected patients were not monitored for certain periods. An interrupted telemetry signal is a matter of great concern from a patient safety perspective.

Action

  • Our Cardiac Services team initially followed all the usual comprehensive procedures and tests to establish the cause for the fault. Although the situation improved, the root cause of the problem remained undiscovered and random dropouts continued.
  • Cardiac Services partnered with Philips, to solve the problem, bringing in two different specialists.
  • Eventually, an RF spectrum expert from the US with highly sensitive equipment, was able to establish that the random dropouts were caused by intermittent rises in the baseline/background noise in the hospital, which could be equivalent to the signal strength of the RF transmitters and therefore disrupt.

Outcome

  • The situation was resolved Cardiac Services measured the signal strength for certain access points. By moving these points to a more central location in each area and by adding a number of additional points, the signal/noise ratio was significantly improved.
  • No other Philips telemetry customer had to experience this issue because the problem was purposed to resolution.

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