HTM Discussion Group

inventory of wireless frequencies in hospital

  • 1.  inventory of wireless frequencies in hospital

    Posted 07-31-2018 18:23
    I am looking for a template by which to inventory wireless frequencies used in a hospital for items such as monitoring, telemetry, cell phone use, radios, baby security systems, etc.

    What would we inventory besides name of device/system, frequency used, # of devices, responsible party?  Would you include power output of the signal, and other information?

    I remember ASHE used to have a template back in the day, but I cannot locate it in my historical notes.

    Thank you in advance.

    Jeanette Thielen BSBME, CCE
    Kirkland WA

  • 2.  RE: inventory of wireless frequencies in hospital

    Posted 08-01-2018 01:13

  • 3.  RE: inventory of wireless frequencies in hospital

    Posted 08-01-2018 09:31
    Hi, Jeanette.

    You didn't indicate your familiarity with the topic, so for the purposes of this discussion, I'll assume everyone reading is a beginner at this.

    This is always a tricky question to answer because, depending on how much you understand about radios, the systems involved and whether you're primarily interested in preventing interference or enhancing system operations, you may need more or less information than someone else. For example, it's important to know which exact frequencies are in use for cardiac telemetry, but not the cellular phones. Do you include the location, power levels and frequencies of all the Wi-Fi access points or cellular antennas or does the IT staff keep a list? (HINT: THEY SHOULD!) In the end, you'll probably wind up with several different lists or databases for different purposes. In the end, whatever helps you make the most sense of your environment is what you should collect.

    In general, if you're getting started, you'll want to put together a general inventory. It will help you learn what is in your facility and where it's located. As you begin gathering information, you will begin to notice patterns you can use to selectively ignore some data elements and add others. Eventually, (and this usually doesn't take too long) you'll figure out it's easier to separate the data into different lists that make sense to you and in some cases, do away with a detailed list altogether.

    Here are the data elements I would recommend for the newcomer:

    Center frequency
    Modulation method(s)/Wi-Fi protocol supported
    Transmit power, min and max - Effective Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP) not just transmitter power
    Location of use
    Number of devices
    FCC ID Number (you can get a wealth of information from FCC databases)
    If the system is licensed:
    FCC license callsign
    FCC contact
    License expiration date
    Security capabilities and configurations - especially for "wireless" technologies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.
    Encryption settings
    Authentication methods
    Intentional or unintentional radiator - Don't forget the unintentional devices, including but certainly not limited to:
    Diagnostic ultrasound machines
    MR imagers
    Microwave ovens
    Infrastructure vs. mobile client
    Standalone system vs. network connected

    For some systems, especially the increasing number of "connected medical devices", you'll also want to have a system diagram so you can document and understand the all the wireless and wired connections, as well as where the data is going.

    This looks like a daunting list to put together and it is. But, like I said before, you'll quickly start recognizing patterns where all the data is the same for a group of devices. Once you understand how the devices and systems work together, you'll be able to omit some of the data.

    Honestly, the data you collect is less important than the fact that collecting it requires you to go out and learn what is in your environment. Knowing your environment is the real key to managing the wireless space. I would STRONGLY suggest you go out and just walk around and look at what is in the environment and what people are using. Take the walk periodically... things change CONSTANTLY! Look at the ceilings and walls to identify antennas and boxes mounted there. Do you know what they are and the purpose they serve? Don't forget the obvious, things to which you've become desensitized, like wireless keyboards, barcode scanners and other computer peripherals, a list that is too long to mention. Is your Facilities Engineering staff upgrading the fluorescent lamps with LED fixtures... which are now routinely controlled with wireless systems? What about Point of Sales systems, RFID readers, etc?

    And, don't forget to look outside your facility, too. Do you have a cell site on your roof or the building next door? What are all those antennas on your roof? Is there a TV or radio transmitter a couple of blocks away? If you have WMTS equipment, where are the nearest TV36 and TV38 transmitters? Who are your "Wi-Fi neighbors", one or two residential homes, or a high-rise condo and multiple businesses?

    One final recommendation. Try to keep up with the ever-changing FCC rules. The switch to and growing dependence on new digital wireless systems is necessitating a lot of changes in the rules. Did you know the FCC is now allowing other users of the radio spectrum to use the 608-614 MHz spectrum that was once marketed as "protected spectrum" for WMTS? Check these URLs regularly:

    If you have WMTS equipment:,DESC
    The AAMI Hot Topics page for Wireless Technology:
    For AAMI members, the Wireless FAQ:

    Hopefully, I've answered your (and other's) question about how to start collecting information... and keeping up with it. The task isn't easy, but it looks worse here than it actually is. Taking the first steps in anything is intimidating, then it gets easier. It's the same here.

    Feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email if you have any questions, comments or concerns.

    Rick Hampton | Wireless Communications Manager
    Partners HealthCare
    Information Systems, Infrastructure Technology Services
    Office: 857.282.3596

    The information in this e-mail is intended only for the person to whom it is
    addressed. If you believe this e-mail was sent to you in error and the e-mail
    contains patient information, please contact the Partners Compliance HelpLine at . If the e-mail was sent to you in error
    but does not contain patient information, please contact the sender and properly
    dispose of the e-mail.