Healthcare links up to Wi-Fi

THE Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria is becoming a hotspot – that is a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Yesterday it became the first hospital on the continent to offer free access to the system.

Although now restricted to 10 areas of the hospital, within two months the entire complex will be covered.

Until now, doctors have had to use their own data allocations to download test results from the National Health Laboratory Services but, thanks to the new service, they will be able to log on to the hospital's Wi-Fi.

Patients will also be able to access the internet later. "This all contributes to the healing process," hospital head Dr Ernest Kenoshi said.

The innovation was made possible through a public-private partnership between the provincial Health Department and Nano Solutions and Technologies.

The R300000 system comes at no cost to the hospital. Nano intends to get revenue from advertising.

Company managing director Sharon Tshabalala said: "For every 13 minutes a user stays online an advertisement will pop up. That's how we are going to make our money."

Tshabalala said Nano wanted to connect up 40 public hospitals by next year. - Sipho Masombuka