Contract with Networks First increases mobile clinical application rollout
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS) is upgrading its wireless infrastructure as part of a contract with Networks First.
The upgrade will enable staff to become more efficient and effective and ultimately help to improve patient care.
The new network will increase wireless access points and enable staff greater choice on mobile devices – laptops, tablets and windows-based mobile devices. It will also support a planned rollout of mobile clinical applications across the trust.
For visitors, new wireless access points will also be accessible. It will make it easier to keep in touch with family and friends, business contacts and health information online.
UHS’s current wireless infrastructure provides in excess of 500 access points. As part of its wider mobile working strategy, UHS wants to increase that number to accommodate more devices accessing the network. It also needs to upgrade the capacity and resilience of the network as it plans the rollout of more mobile clinical applications across more platforms such as smartphones and tablet devices.
Mike Ives, IT manager at the trust, 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 futureproofing 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.
What is key is the delivery of applications that people can use. As we move to a paperless, or paper light environment, we need applications accessible across a plethora of devices and platforms.
The integrity, resilience, and capacity of our wireless network is key to delivering a safer, more efficient level of care to our patients. Our aspiration is to have total wireless coverage across the trust.”
UHS made a strategic decision to work with Networks First in April 2013, awarding the company a networks services contract following an open tendering exercise. As part of that contract, Networks First has already delivered a firewall upgrade and discussions are underway on a more rigorous network authentication programme as the trust looks to embrace BYOD and granting public access to the network.
Ives said: “We know that some of our staff will want to use their own devices to access the network, while others won’t. What we are doing is ensuring our network can offer choice – those who want to can, those who do not don’t need to. 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.”
Daljit Paul, head of services at Networks First, added: “UHS is a pioneer in terms of mobile application delivery. It is one of few trusts to successfully rollout e-Prescribing. It has an ambitious programme to deliver more mobile, clinical applications. We are pleased to be working with the trust on its network infrastructure as it forms the core backbone for the trust’s wider mobile working ambitions.”
Networks First is upgrading the infrastructure to Aruba’s 7220 Mobility Controllers, ensuring the infrastructure can incorporate significant growth in the use of mobile devices and wireless connectivity and support the latest multi-stream 802.11ac and 802.11n standards.