First, people got used to being able to surf the Web, via free wireless connections as they sipped lattes at coffee shops.
Now, in many cases, patients or visitors to hospitals can whip out their laptops or other wireless devices and enjoy the same free Internet access. Hospitals across Central Indiana and around the nation increasingly are turning their cafeterias, patient rooms and waiting areas into free wireless fidelity hotspots.
"You hear people say, 'They can do it at Starbucks. Why can't they do it in the hospital?' " said Barbara Coulter, director of information services for 463-bed St. Francis Hospital and Health Centers in Beech Grove, Ind. "It was just a trend that we knew we had to provide for patients."
In fact, hospitals across the hotly competitive Indianapolis healthcare market are trying to provide patients and visitors with comforts and perks including more upscale shops and eateries, as well as free Net access. Using a secure wireless connection, medical professionals also can access patient information on the go.
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