Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust has signed a multi-million pound agreement to deploy a Cisco Medical-Grade Network to help it reduce costs, improve access to healthcare information, and provide patients with services faster and more efficiently.

According to Cisco, once completed it will be one of the UK’s most advanced end-to-end Cisco Medical-Grade Networks supporting a broad range of applications, helping to improve the delivery of healthcare services, including the Lorenzo and RFID systems.

The Cisco Medical-Grade Network will contain many of Cisco’s portfolio of products, including foundational networking technologies, centralised Wi-Fi, network security products, and location-based services.

Ian Smith, head of service design and innovation for Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, told E-Health Insider: “The Cisco Medical-Grade Network will help the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust transform the way we deliver healthcare, by enabling us to readily and cost-effectively exploit the capability of new technologies that can genuinely help improve patient care, such as helping to reduce overall patient waiting times and reducing the need for patients to duplicate information by providing access to all relevant information at the point of care.”

The project has recently begun and is expected to be completed by March 2010. The trust is currently working on getting Cisco platforms into place. Within the next three to six months, it aims to have an improved remote access service in place.

“What we are planning is an infrastructure platform where clinicians can access, share and collaborate on healthcare information faster and in a more efficient way. Initially this will be through remote access, but by the completion of the project staff will have the best elements of technology including desktop video conferencing, the ability to locate people and track assets, wireless treatment at the bedside and an aligned network to the Lorenzo system,” Smith said.

Central to the network will be a new wireless system, which will enable staff to have real-time access to information at the bedside and help ensure that clinicians can be contacted anywhere on either of the trust’s two sites.

“The Cisco technology will help the trust to have a complete patient centric view of what is happening on its sites. Staff will be able to work in mobile ways they couldn’t do before, enabling more time to be spent with patients as well as capturing cost efficiencies, and reconfiguring service delivery towards more out-patient, day patient and community care,” Smith said.

Andrew Fearn, the trust’s director of health informatics, added: “This announcement marks an important step towards our declared aim of being the best teaching acute trust by 2016. We envisage that the new network will offer huge benefits to the ‘releasing time to care’ programme, enabling our clinical staff to spend more time caring for our patients and ensuring that the most current information is always available at the point of care.”

The trust made the decision to deploy a Cisco Medical-Grade Network following a visit to St Olav’s University Hospital in Trondheim, Norway, to see similar connections in action.

“The Cisco Medical-Grade Network connects all stakeholders in the healthcare system to one information and communications infrastructure as a connected healthcare ecosystem and provides the foundation for advanced healthcare solutions,” said Terry Espiner, regional sales manager for Cisco.

The Cisco Medical-Grade Network will be deployed and supported by Cisco partner, NextiraOne UK.

“This project is extremely high profile due to its complexity, innovation and forward thinking, and in collaboration with the trust and Cisco our objective is to provide the enablement for efficiency gains and structure aimed at providing a prospective future for the care of patients and staff alike,” said Peter Smith, public sector account director from NextiraOne UK.

“Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust rigorously evaluated the potential delivery partners, and we are delighted that we have been selected. The installation and commissioning of a medical-grade network in a live hospital environment is not a trivial task; however, our robust and committed approach to project management certainly resonated with the trust,” he added.




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