Mediclinic Southern Africa

Mediclinic Lays the Foundation for the Future of Medicine with Aruba’s Wi-Fi Solution

As the world is becoming increasingly connected, it’s no surprise that hospitals are seeing the need for better connectivity to support their mission of offering superior patient care and administration, as well as improving operational efficiencies and collaboration. Mediclinic made the strategic decision to select Aruba Networks as their Wi-Fi solution across South Africa and Dubai, as the foundation for this connectivity.

Deon Myburgh, Manager of ICT Operations at Mediclinic Southern Africa, explains the decision to use Aruba across the group’s 53 hospitals in South Africa and further afield in Dubai. “We wanted to own the air in terms of network connectivity in our hospitals and we saw Wi-Fi as a major part of supporting this strategy. We evaluated all available products on the market and found that Aruba was mature in this space, especially in terms of meeting our requirements.”

These requirements went beyond simply providing patients and guests with access to Wi-Fi – the primary goal was to provide medical staff with access to resources to work more effectively. It was also essential for Mediclinic to find a solution that meets its security requirements and allows for ease of management, control and centralisation.

Myburgh comments, “This is what Aruba specialises in – and that, combined with their high rating on the Gartner Magic Quadrant, their technical skill, support and their attractive proposal made our decision an easy one.” He continues, “We embarked on the roll-out in March 2014 and completed the roll-out in May 2015.

In the year since Mediclinic’s Wi-Fi roll-out began, many hospitals have already undergone several important upgrades thanks to improved connectivity. The vision of Mediclinic is to use Wi-Fi to equip doctors with resources to access patient medical files and work with con-nected medical equipment such as digital radiology systems, picture archiving and communications systems (PACS), patient monitors, mobile x-ray machines and other medical devices. In addition, the hospital group has encouraged the use of Microsoft Lync as a collaboration tool for all of its employees.

Other technologies, to support operational efficiency are now being considered. One of these, being the porter system in place at one of Mediclinic’s hospitals, whereby all porters and drivers have an iPad Mini and with Wi-Fi connectivity can determine exactly which patients need collecting and where they are. Myburgh also highlights that a similar system is used in the emergency unit for triaging and checking the waiting time of patients, and there is a coaster system in place to notify patients when they are ready to be admitted.

Wi-Fi has really opened up a lot of areas as we constantly look at improving efficiencies.
Deon Myburgh, Manager of ICT Operations, Mediclinic

In the two newest hospitals, Mediclinic Gariep (Kimberley) and Mediclinic Midstream (Pretoria), there are fully converged networks, which are designed for voice and data coverage. “We generally have very poor signal in our hospitals because of the thick, lead-clad walls, so not only does Wi-Fi offer us enhanced connectivity, but the ability to make calls over this network is also an added benefit,” says Myburgh.

Patients and other hospital guests are also enjoying access to a reliable Wi-Fi network. Mediclinic plans to offer two different options to patients and guests in the near future.

Other possibilities for the future of Mediclinic, thanks to the implementation of Aruba’s Wi-Fi solution, include the addition of real-time location services allowing for tracking of medical equipment. Particularly useful could be the ability to consult with a new mother in her ward while simultaneously viewing her baby in NICU using a tablet device. Myburgh also shares that the hospital group is working with pathology provider, PathCare, to make use of a tablet application to capture information electronically and streamline the paper trail.

“Wi-Fi has really opened up a lot of areas as we constantly look at improving efficiencies,” says Myburgh. “Our strategy going forward is one of an integrated healthcare framework, with integration and sharing of information between multiple care providers within our hospital, while simultaneously reducing paperwork and increasing productivity.” He concludes that the process of implementing the Aruba Wi-Fi solution has been aggressive and challenging, but it is one of the most critical building blocks in seeing this vision become a reality.

 

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