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How Do We Support Hospital's Digital Connectivity?

How Do We Support Hospital's Digital Connectivity image

There are few more complex Technology environments in the UK today than in our NHS. Networking in hospitals represents the pinnacle of network criticality, supporting life-critical services and demanding 100% availability around the clock, 365 days a year.

Wireless networking technology is proving particularly transformative in this arena. From improving the quality of care and patient experience to streamlining back office tasks and logistics, WiFi is helping to eliminate some of the NHS’ greatest challenges.

WiFi – Addressing some of Healthcare’s Biggest Challenges

It’s like oxygen – you can’t live without Wi-Fi
Henry Ford Health System

  1. Delivering Exceptional Patient Experiences

    The patient experience is at the heart of the NHS, and wireless technology is helping to enhance this in a number of areas.

    Guest access is expected in public areas, from hotels to cafes, gyms to shops – hospitals are no exception. By offering WiFi within NHS Trusts, it enhances communication with friends and family, provides entertainment, permits access to the workplace and generally reduces a feeling of isolation.

    We’re encouraging BYOD (Bring Your Own Devices) in our hospitals which avoids any additional costs to patients, where currently they have to purchase TV time. Last year it was reported that a pensioner was charged £700 during his 11-month stay in hospital for watching TV on his bedside terminal.  
  1. Cost Savings to the NHS

    Wireless networking is helping NHS Trusts realise significant cost savings across their operations. By replacing bedside terminals with BYOD, it enables the hospitals to reduce costs on maintenance. Further reduced costs include enabling staff to access documents and information online rather than wasting critical time providing hardcopies and sifting through to locate the necessary details.
  1. Streamlining Clinical Workflows

    Paperless ways of working, enabled by the wireless network, are greatly increasing the efficiency and accuracy of clinical workflows.

    A recent study by university academics in Manchester, Sheffield and York and published by the Department of Health in February 2018 identified more than 230 million medication errors a year that took place in the NHS. The Department of Health and Social Care believe the roll out of electronic prescribing systems across more hospitals could reduce errors by 50%[1].

    Connected medical devices are also greatly enhancing the ability to monitor patients and relay critical alerts to clinicians. Oxygen and heart rate monitors, infusion pumps and beds are just some of the smart network connected devices able to provide timely alerts when something isn’t right, ensuring patients are receiving the very best levels of care.

    Accurate electronic medical records, real-time alerts and the ability to access and share information such as x-rays and MRI scans anytime, anywhere, is greatly streamlining the clinical workflow, reducing inefficiencies of paper-based processes and freeing up clinician’s time to focus on delivering exceptional patient care.

Patients have been asking for WiFi for some time and it is great to now be able to provide it. Staff have said that it’s quick to go online and that the service is both good and easy to use. Feedback from patients has also been really positive and it’s playing a key part in helping us to deliver an excellent experience when people are with us for treatment.
Jenny Faulkner, Deputy Director at The Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

 

Looking Forward

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said;

“Everyone using the NHS expects it to be a World leader in digital healthcare and free Wi-Fi is an essential part of making that a reality. It will give patients and staff the ability to access the services they need as well as freeing up clinical time and reducing overall costs.”[3]

The plans will be made possible using a £1bn technology fund and is part of the move for the NHS to be digital and paperless by 2020.

Conclusion

Datrix has deployed some of the largest wireless infrastructures within the healthcare sector and are proud to have over 25 NHS trusts as customers. With a team of dedicated wireless consultants, we have unrivalled expertise in overcoming the unique challenges posed by high-density, highly critical hospital environments.

From providing Wi-Fi access to patients to enabling new technologies such as Mobile EPR, PACS and RFID Asset Tracking solutions, streamlining patient flow and improving the patient experience is at the heart of everything we do in the healthcare sector.

[1] https://www.healthcareconferencesuk.co.uk/electronic-prescribing-to-reduce-medication-errors
[2] http://digitalhealthage.com/hospital-wifi/
[3] https://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/12/21/nhs_free_wi_fi_jeremy_hunt/

Topics: Wireless Healthcare Public Sector Cloud Wireless