Bedford Hospital NHS Trust has implemented a wi-fi network to support mobile working for clinicians.

The wireless technology from Xirrus means clinicians can gain access to systems on handheld devices deployed by the trust.

The trust’s chief information officer, Mark Austin, said that the wi-fi network will make it easier to access clinical data at the point of care.

“Wireless networking makes this straightforward to accommodate and many staff already own the devices, so costs saved here can be spent elsewhere,” he said.

The trust recently went live with CSC’s MedChart electronic prescribing and medicines management system in parts of the hospital and is rolling it out across the trust from September.

“Doctors can access patient pathology test results, use ePMA or look up x-rays, while doing ward rounds to reduce delays and deliver quicker, better patient outcomes,” Austin said.

The new network means that people visiting the trust, such as police officers and social workers, can use the internet while at meetings in the hospital.

The wi-fi also supports the trust’s ‘bring your own device’ scheme.

“Doctors want to use their own iPads from anywhere within the hospital to make it easier for them to access data available to them via the internet,” said Austin.

For information governance reasons, clinicians cannot use their personal devices to access hospital systems.

Pharmacists also use the wi-fi to check drug stocks and managers can hold paperless meetings with access to electronic patient records and other data that would normally only be available from their desktop computer.

Austin said that because the hospital building is a listed building, IT infrastructure changes usually poses certain difficulties.

“The Bedford Hospital site itself dates back to the Victorian era and some of the wards have ‘listed building’ status, meaning there is little that can be done to the walls, floors, ceilings, etc., to accommodate significant IT infrastructure changes,” he said.

“The beauty of the Xirrus wireless platform is that fewer wireless points are needed, which in turn reduces the amount of cabling and wiring required throughout the hospital, helping to maintain aesthetic integrity.”