CHICAGO—Migrant farm workers flow into Salinas, Calif., during the lettuce-harvesting season, just as once portrayed, long ago, by novelist John Steinbeck. The difference is that now, the workers come to California’s Central Valley from central Mexico, not the Oklahoma dust bowl, as in “The Grapes of Wrath.”
And although they are in the United States illegally, have no money or health insurance and don’t speak English, they do have access to consistent medical and dental care, as a result of a new wireless networking initiative, experts tell United Press International’s Networking.
A number of local technology companies, including Sonic Wall and the Alvarez Technology Group, have collaborated with a local health clinic in the valley to set up the remote healthcare facility. Outfitting an old recreational vehicle with the newest wireless routers, 802.11g adapters and firewall technology, the developers created a virtual private network, linking the mobile medical clinic with a medical center, where patient records are now kept digitally.
The van simply shows up at a designated spot, the nurse takes out a folding table, types in the patient’s name on a wireless laptop computer and picks up the treatments where they were left off. The mobile healthcare van uses SonicPoint access points and a SonicWall TZ 170 SP Wireless slim-line security appliance in the vehicle to help them connect back to the PRO 2040 firewall at the main clinic.
“The RV is fitted with equipment for field diagnostics,” said Alvarez. “Dentists can do cleanings. X-rays can be taken. It’s really cool.”
The mobile clinic in Salinas treats 20 to 30 patients per stop, said Alvarez.
The project is an outreach effort of Clinica de Salud, a clinic for low-wage earners and mobile workers, near Sacramento, according to a spokesperson for SonicWall, a provider of integrated network security, mobility and productivity solutions, based in Silicon Valley.