Cheltnam general hospital

Cheltenam general hospital

Gloucester Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has deployed a wireless network from Aruba across both of its hospitals.

The trust has deployed Aruba’s 802.11n network across Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General Hospitals and its headquarters after going out tender in October 2008.

Steve Edwards, its head of IT development services, said that the key driver for the project was to improve clinical care.

He told E-Health Insider: “The wireless network addresses a number of needs, such as providing greater access to existing applications and clinical systems in areas that have been a challenge.

“Staff have increased access to IT. They are able to use mobile carts so they don’t have to keep walking back and forth and duplicating notes. That leads to greater efficiency and means there is more time available to spend with patients.”

The trust went out to tender last year after writing a specification document that highlighted the need for a secure, interoperable and seamless network with minimal operational overheads for a six figure sum.

The trust then carried out a technical evaluation of both single and multi-channel wireless local area networks. It found that Aruba’s multi-channel LAN and adaptive radio management technology lowered deployment and maintaining costs.

It began deployment across 63 wards in January this year. Edwards said: “We’re very pleased that we’ve been able to absorb the network with our own staff, it’s so far proven to be very reliable and we’ve had very few issues.

“Overall it has integrated IT more into working life, if you have to stop and think about IT then it’s not doing its job.”

The trust also intends to use the network to support its future use of mobile applications.

Edwards added: “In the future the network will provide a platform for more IT projects. We are looking at applications around voice to improve contact across the trust and also RFID [Radio Frequency Identification] tracking for equipment and even patients.

“Next month, we will be rolling out a partial electronic patient record system in emergency care and the wireless network will be particularly useful in that area.”

Bob Vickers, sales director for Aruba Networks UK and Ireland said: “Gloucestershire Hospitals’ experience is proof positive that Aruba can lower the IT overhead, and the life cycle cost, of a wireless LAN.

“New access points can be added as and wherever needed, and the network infrastructure will automatically ensure that they work optimally. This frees the IT staff to work on other projects, and the wireless network looks after itself.”

Link: Aruba