Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust, London, has implemented a wireless local area network (WLAN) supplied by French telecoms giant Alcatel-Lucent.
Royal Brompton and Harefield is an international centre for heart and lung treatment and aims to use the new network to help transform clinical care and enable mobility of its patient services. In the initial stage of the project 300 clinicians and consultants will gain wireless access.
Staff connected to the network can now access patient information anywhere in the hospital, supporting the organisation’s goal of providing ‘paper-light’ electronic access to all clinical and administrative records by 2010-2011.
The trust, which has two main two hospitals 20 miles apart at Chelsea and Uxbridge, London, will use the the wireless network to deliver sensitive data that requires resilience, security and speed – such as x-ray images, patient monitoring information, pathology results and cardiovascular imaging.
Staff, equipped with Tablet PCs such as Mobile Clinical Assistants (MCAs), will 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.
Graham Everson, director of IT and telecommunications at Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Trust, said: “Wireless technology perfectly supports the core clinical functions of a hospital, and thus forms the bedrock of our IT strategy.”
Everson added: “The new wireless network lays the foundation for us to increase mobility and removing paper-based processes in this way, while ensuring we remain fully compliant with Department of Health security standards.”
In the future the trust plans to link telecoms at its two sites using voice over IP (VoIP). The pan is to provide staff with wireless voice communications devices, enabling them to automatically switch over to the Wi-Fi network whenever they’re onsite, achieving further flexibility and cost-savings.
As part of these plans the trust is also examining the deployment of ‘hands free’, location monitoring and communication technology, such as the Vocera wireless voice system, which would use the new WLAN. This allows for two-way voice communication using voice recognition and the location tracking of staff
The Alcatel-Lucent WLAN was installed by networking and security integrator Khipu Networks. The wireless network, which is based on Alcatel-Lucent’s OmniAccess WLAN technology, will complement and support the Trust’s existing Alcatel-Lucent fixed data infrastructure.
Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Trust serves more than 80,000 outpatients and 26,000 inpatients each year from the UK and overseas, and employs more than 2,500 staff.