Airedale Delivers Faster Clinical Response Times and Operational Efficiency

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Introduction

Airedale NHS Foundation Trust provides acute, elective and specialist care in West and North Yorkshire and East Lancashire. The campus has 2,700 staff and treats over 25,000 in-patients, 26,000 non-elective patients and 131,000 outpatients each year.

Airedale’s management decided to upgrade its campus communications to deliver the hospital’s objectives of faster clinical response times and increased operational efficiency. It is driving this with innovations from Extreme Networks.

The Initiative

In the first initiative, the trust requested direct communication with doctors under the Out of Hours Doctors Initiative, so they could deal with emergencies and ad hoc requests faster. In a pilot, Extreme Networks delivered a clinical-grade wireless infrastructure connected to the existing communications platform. The high availability network is secure, easy-to-manage and based on VoIP with C1000 controller from Siemens Enterprise communications and 30 WLAN access points. The access points are managed via two controllers, ensuring consistent service levels for multiple applications on a single infrastructure.

The trust expanded the infrastructure allowing doctors to access voice calls and email from clinical mobile assistants and staff to access data such as patient details and test results from a PC or laptop. Doctors on the wards access the details using COWs (Computers on Wheels) connected to web-based applications such as PACs (Picture Archiving and Communication system).

Extreme Networks Solution

Extreme Networks installed two C4110 wireless controllers capable of supporting 250 access points (APs) per unit (or 500 APs in failover mode). Airedale’s upgraded wireless platform supports a mixed a/b/g/n environment, ensuring effective performance from individual wireless clients. It also gives the trust a path to high-speed 802.11n, which is currently being trialed.

Asset Tracking and Patient Safety With RFID

Extreme Networks also provided a platform for the asset management of bedside infusion pumps, which were previously hoarded at certain points, leaving some wards short. It partnered with RFID specialist, Ekahau to implement an application for tagging and tracking the pumps. This system enables both the ME (medical electronics) department and IC (infection control) staff to quickly locate the units highlighted on CAD drawings of Airedale’s main buildings.

Extreme Networks is also enabling the hospital to trial RFID-based Ekahau patient tagging using wristband tags. Staff set parameters for high-risk patients and when a patient passes such a point, the tag activates staff pager alarms. Andrew Leng, IT solutions architect at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust said: “Staff log in to the site survey mapping tool to track the patient. It’s efficient and done in agreement with the family of representative.”

Results

Airedale is transforming patient outcomes and driving efficiencies with the intelligent network. Doctors securely access patients’ details and are able to handle requests whilst on the move. Leng explained: “We’ve provided vital services to clinical and ancillary staff from wireless access of patient details to RFID tagging of critical equipment.”

  • Secure, real-time access of patients’ details on the ward and on the move
  • Delivery of critical services to ward and ancillary staff such as RFID tagging of high value equipment
  • Enhanced safety for high risk patients from tracking systems
  • Optimisation of previous ICT investments
  • Enhanced campus-wide communication with fast and resilient VoIP and wireless infrastructures
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