Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Trust undertakes Wireless Network Transformation

Internationally-renowned heart and lung centre, Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Trust has deployed an Alcatel-Lucent Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) to transform clinical care and enable total mobility of its patient services.

Alcatel-Lucent’s wireless network, installed by networking and security integrator Khipu Networks, gives Trust employees the ability to perform clinical procedures and access patient information anywhere in the hospital, as well as supporting the organisation’s goal of providing ‘paper-light’ electronic access to all clinical, managerial and administrative records.
The wireless network will be utilised to deliver sensitive data that requires resilience, security and speed, such as x-ray images, patient’s monitoring information etc. It allows the staff, equipped with Mobile Clinical Assistants (MCAs), to record medical information direct from patients’ wristbands or at their bedsides, and transmit it into a central database, crucial in ensuring fast and accurate patient identification and diagnosis.

“Hospitals operate in a totally mobile way. Clinicians, nurses and patients are continually on the move, and in order to deliver effective care,staff must be granted universal access to patient data,” said Graham Everson, director of IT and telecommunications at Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Trust. “Wireless technology perfectly supports the core clinical functions of a hospital, and thus forms the bedrock of our IT strategy. Most importantly, it enables us to build layers of device and functionality to make day to day operations more dynamic and flexible, reducing patient risk in the process.”

Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Trust serves more than 80,000 outpatients and 26,000 inpatients each year and employs more than 2,500 staff. The wireless network, based on Alcatel-Lucent’s OmniAccess WLAN technology, will complement and support the existing Alcatel-Lucent fixed data infrastructure. In the initial rollout, 300 clinicians and consultants will gain access to the wireless facilities, while the network will facilitate more users following site acceptance tests, designed to gauge performance and compile employee feedback.

“Within a hospital, IT must be completely invisible from an infrastructure support perspective. It must operate smoothly 24 hours a day, and should seek to improve the way we deliver high quality patient care,” continued Everson. “However, at the same time the applications themselves must be visible and readily available, encouraging uptake and allowing us to transfer more tasks to handheld devices. The new wireless network lays the foundation for us to increase mobility and removing paper-based processes in this way, while ensuring compliancy with Department of Health security standards.”

Royal Brompton & Harefield has future plans to link the telecommunications over IP (VoIP) to remove the cost of internal calls, as well as giving staff GSM devices with wireless capabilities, enabling further flexibility and cost-savings.

Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Trust selected the Alcatel-Lucent and Khipu offering based the high level of knowledge, support and responsiveness. Both organisations are providing ongoing network support, as well as conducting site acceptance tests, which will help make further improvements.

“Wireless networks are becoming the foundation for delivering clinical and non-clinical applications within healthcare organisations, and provide a number of key benefits – from flexible secure access for staff to tracking vital assets – whilst playing a significant role in delivering IT resilience within a hospital,” said Matt Ashman, commercial consultant at Khipu Networks.

“Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Trust is a dynamic organisation in which excellence in clinical innovation is matched equally by the technical. It puts patient care at the heart of communications, understands the importance of connected knowledge and ensures deployments are sufficiently robust to prevent care from being compromised by technical issues,” said Simon Price, account manager, Alcatel-Lucent.

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