University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust is upgrading its wireless infrastructure to support a roll-out of mobile clinical applications across the trust.

Southampton is working with Networks First on the new network, which will increase wireless access points and enable staff greater choice on mobile devices.

For visitors, new wireless access points will also be accessible.

The trust’s current wireless infrastructure provides more than 500 access points, but it wants to accommodate more devices accessing the network.

It also needs to upgrade the capacity and resilience of the network as it plans the roll-out of more mobile clinical applications across more platforms such as smartphones and tablet devices.

IT manager Mike Ives said: “clinical staff including ward nurses, doctors and pharmacists want increased access to our network on the move and at the point of care and we needed to upgrade our infrastructure to make that possible.

“We are future proofing our wireless network against a planned increase in use of mobile, clinical applications. We are already advanced in terms of e-prescribing, and we are currently looking at piloting an Acuity application and are quite far down the road in a refreshed electronic patient record programme,” he said.

“What is key is the delivery of applications that people can use. As we move to a paperless, or paper lite environment, we need applications accessible across a plethora of devices and platforms.”

After winning the contract in April this year, Networks First has already delivered a firewall upgrade and discussions are underway on a more rigorous network authentication programme as Southampton looks to embrace ‘bring your own device’ and granting public access to the network.

“We know that some of our staff will want to use their own devices to access the network, others won’t,” explained Ives.

"What we are doing is ensuring our network can offer choice. We also want to provide greater access to the network for the public in future.

"Both these areas require a greater degree of individual and device authentication procedures, ensuring the integrity of our systems and information.”