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NHS Grampian has the world's largest healthcare wireless network of its kind

11/05/2009

Carillion IT Services* today announced commencement of a five-year, £1.1million contract to create a new unified wireless network infrastructure in partnership with NHS Grampian at its Foresterhill campus in Aberdeen. The campus includes Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital and Aberdeen Maternity Hospital. NHS Grampian is responsible for delivering the healthcare of nearly half a million people, spread over 3000 square miles, in urban and rural communities in this region of Scotland.

The project will see Carillion IT Services* installing what is currently Cisco’s largest Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) deployment in the healthcare market worldwide for its powerful 1142 Access Point. The wireless network, based on Cisco technology, will support the three Aberdeen Hospitals and is capable of delivering first-rate performance and integrating with existing security and authentication methods on the NHS Grampian network. Due to be operational by the end of October 2009, the system will have the potential to provide improvements in efficiency and patient care. This includes innovations such as a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) portable asset tracking to help monitor and trace the location of vital medical equipment - set to be implemented by the end of the next financial year.

Deployment of the new WLAN across the site will create the future for the ‘paperless hospital bedside’. Medical staff will be freed from their desks allowing them access to data from across the site anytime, anywhere. Advantages include real-time access to patient information and electronic medical records, reducing reliance on paper. Other impending benefits of the WLAN include the deployment of a platform for wireless VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and the potential for staff mobile phone use across the internal network. The WLAN will also create the opportunity for the pager system to be replaced with Voice over WiFi (VoFI) handsets, again increasing the ability to contact medical staff quickly and efficiently.

The planned future implementation of RFID technology will be used to ensure all medical equipment is properly monitored and accounted for, saving medical staff valuable time in tracking equipment and reducing the need to purchase unnecessary replacements. In the future this monitoring system will be carried out using small electronic tags attached to portable medical devices that send signals to the wireless network allowing vital apparatus to be picked up and located easily.

Paul Allen, Head of ICT Infrastructure, NHS Grampian, commented: “We chose Carillion IT Services* for this project following a formal procurement process where we identified them as having excellent credentials in the healthcare market and a track record for technology delivery within a specified budget. In particular their partnership with Cisco proved an important factor in allowing us to harness the full potential of the network in the future and make the most of the technology advances that can further increase efficiency and help us provide true 21st century care for the people of Grampian.”

Noel McNulty, Managing Director of Carillion IT Services*, added: “We are delighted to be supporting this significant new development of NHS Grampian’s IT infrastructure. We believe our expertise in delivering innovative IT solutions in the healthcare market is paramount to a close and successful working partnership with our customer, NHS Grampian, who truly understand the substantial benefits that the new wireless network will reap, both now and in the future, for both the staff and their patients.”

*Carillion IT Services* Ltd is now trading as Capita IT Services as of 01/07/09.

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