Tech-enabled triage tents screen possible COVID-19 patients

Extreme Networks helps to expedite the installation of connected pop-up sites outside of hospitals for initial assessment of coronavirus symptoms.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the healthcare industry, as some hospitals are stacked to capacity, and officials have had to convert buildings, including arenas, to accommodate patients.

Many hospitals, pharmacies, local governments, and other healthcare organizations are setting up temporary triage tents, and pop-up locations to help test and treat COVID-19 patients. The networking company Extreme Networks, based in San Jose, CA, is stepping in to help expedite the installation of tech-enabled triage tents.

"Extreme [Networks] created rapid outdoor connectivity kits to help rapidly and easily extend secure connectivity" to the temporary pop-up sites, according to Bob Zemke, director of healthcare solutions at Extreme Networks. 

At the frontline 

Hospitals have turned to triage tents positioned outside entrances to screen patients with COVID-19 symptoms before admitting them into the hospital.

Some drug stores and pharmacy chains—CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Target—are offering testing services at select locations in tents outside brick-and-mortar stores.

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Tech in triage tents

"Extreme Networks customers, from stadiums and municipalities to hospitals, hotels, and pharmacies supporting the effort to test, quarantine, and treat COVID-19 patients are deploying temporary medical pop-ups outside their main facilities," Zemke said. "In turn, we provide wireless technology to ensure medical devices can be connected and practitioners can treat patients. Tents range from small tailgating pop up shelters for testing locations to advanced hospital class temporary structures and come from a variety of manufactures." 

The tents have been used to confirm a diagnosis and prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Extreme Networks said. But the tents set up outside of healthcare facilities are not just the kind of tents erected for weddings or camping. They are triage tents, an outdoor, connected environment with technological, security and skill challenges for health IT teams.

Necessary network connectivity

Extreme Networks is at the related technological forefront, with its Extreme's Emergency Connected Networks helping to prepare and assist healthcare organizations deal with possible patient surges, while monitoring healthcare customers to offer best practices for the healthcare's IT teams. 

Medical staff and operators need network connectivity to sufficiently operate mission-critical devices and systems, and cellular connectivity kits from service providers are very difficult to acquire. It's easy for a healthcare facility to become overwhelmed with voice, video, and data demands, according to Extreme Networks

"Our primary objective is to help medical practitioners who are the front lines of this pandemic do what they do best," Zemke said. "We hope that our support will help make a difference in flattening the COVID-19 curve by reducing the infection risks inside clinical care facilities."

Wireless tech without reliance on external providers

Extreme Networks now offers a curated wired and wireless package that can be deployed quickly and without reliance on external providers. The solutions are secure and encrypted extensions to the existing network, for maintenance of HIPAA and PCI compliance, the company said. 

High-performance Wi-Fi is distributed throughout the tent, which supports the demanding clinical-grade services medical personnel, devices and access to EHRs must be supported. Different kits meet different requirements, and have options for cloud-managed and on-premise network deployment.

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IMAGE: ExtremeNetworks