Isala

A stable, secure and innovative network environment enables a major Dutch hospital to prepare for the future with confidence

  • Customer Profile

    Isala is a hospital that operates in five locations in the Netherlands: Zwolle, Meppel, Steenwijk, Kampen and Heerde. Using the philosophy of 'close if possible, further away if necessary', Isala guarantees quality healthcare in Southwest Drenthe and Northwest Overijssel.
    • Vertical: Healthcare
    • Location: Zwolle and other locations, Drenthe and Overijssel, the Netherlands
    • Customer size: Over 1,200 beds, 8,000+ staff, 4,000 computers, 22,000+ devices connecting daily

    Use Case

    Replace an ageing and becoming unreliable network to future-proof Isala’s operations and provide a solid foundation to enable ongoing growth and innovation in the Dutch healthcare sector.

    Requirements

    • Provide a stable, secure and innovative network environment for a top-level clinical hospital
    • Enable scale and flexibility to enable innovation
    • Build a secure and reliable network to enable work and appointments to be carried out remotely
    • Enable patient monitoring through wired and wireless network

    Outcomes

    • Builds a foundation for future innovation and growth through projects such as Connected Care
    • Provides 24/7 uptime to makes it possible to provide services as and when required
    • Saves critical staff time through asset tracking
    • Enables seamless transition to home working during Covid lockdown and for future workplace transformations

    As a teaching hospital and the largest clinical hospital in the Netherlands, Isala faces a series of highly challenging goals. With ICT increasingly becoming part of the framework for progress, Isala needs a stable, secure and innovative network environment.

    It is an environment that never stands still. Scale and flexibility are critical. “We have more than 8,000 employees using more than 4,000 computers in our hospital,” explains Frank Pongers, Project Delivery Manager, Infrastructure Services at Isala. “It's a 24/7 operation, so networking is essential for us, particularly for information access.”

    “We have more than 8,000 employees using more than 4,000 computers in our hospital,” explains Frank Pongers, Project Delivery Manager, Infrastructure Services at Isala. “It's a 24/7 operation, so networking is essential for us, particularly for information access.”

    Isala Hospital building exterior

    Realising an ambition for connectivity

    With the introduction of more connected devices, new applications and innovations such as smart band aids, wearables and home care solutions, Isala’s ambition is to sit at the forefront of technology and operate as a highly connected hospital – both internally and also for patients, their families and caregivers.

    Isala’s previous network was ageing, overcomplicated and struggling with compatibility issues.

    “More and more medical devices incorporate Bluetooth,” says Pongers. “But one Bluetooth network was interfering with our Wi-Fi network that we used for telemetry to monitor heart patients and that obviously had to take priority.”

    The situation was unsustainable, especially given Isala’s ambitions and the rapid expansion in connected medical devices.

    Deltics, a Dutch IT consultancy and Aruba partner, had previously managed network-migration projects for two other large hospitals, giving Isala the confidence that Deltics and Aruba had the necessary experience for such a large-scale project.

    Delivering a migration success story

    Having agreed a seven-year contract with Deltics, it soon became clear that the nature of Isala’s operations meant the implementation process would be atypical; continuity of service and functions would not just be nice-to-haves. “This is a working hospital,” explains Pongers. “We can’t just tell people we’re closing for two days because we’re replacing our network. It’s impossible.”

    Pongers’ early concerns were not, in the end, borne out. “I’d heard of other hospitals where things were entirely different, so nobody expected the migration to go this smoothly.”

    The new network pivots around Aruba ClearPass and Dynamic Segmentation, ensuring smooth policy enforcement and least-privilege access to critical data and applications. Such is Isala’s ambition, and the success of the migration process, that new functionalities such as asset tracking were deployed immediately.

    In partnership with Deltics and Aruba, Isala has created a network environment that enables the hospital to introduce new functionality that was not previously possible, while 24/7 uptime makes it possible to provide services as and when required – and without hampering future developments.

    Isala Hospital open seating above the lobby

    Enabling smart solutions to record early wins

    Even before full implementation had been completed, Isala recorded some crucial early wins. Covid meant many of the hospital’s staff worked mainly from home and the new network made the transition quick and easy. “The IT department here is 140 people,” notes Pongers, “but on any given day, only around 50 at most now need to be present on location. Supporting roles like secretaries and assistants can also prepare much of what they’re doing remotely.”

    This extends to departments such as radiology, where more radiologists are using remote access points to operate diagnostic workstations at home. “It keeps critical staff healthy and they waste less time travelling,” says Pongers. “It also means their availability is more flexible. It’s a major time-saving solution.”

    Pongers also identifies the asset tracking system as an important enabler in terms of time and consistency. Isala’s main site in Zwolle covers over 100,000 square metres and locating key clinical equipment over such a vast area was once problematic. Pongers recalls that nursing staff would typically waste between 15 and 30 minutes a day searching for medical devices. “It can be hard to find things in a facility this size and asset tracking is a very smart solution.”

    Supporting a safe and growing environment

    The most important aspect of the new network is, however, the opportunity it provides. In partnership with Deltics and Aruba, Isala has created a network environment that enables the hospital to introduce new functionality that was not previously possible, while 24/7 uptime makes it possible to provide services as and when required – and without hampering future developments.

    Isala’s Connected Care is an important potential beneficiary, which aims to provide telemonitoring, online consultation and control interviews, in combination with home visits by specialised nurses. The project’s aim is to reduce the need for in-person hospital visits, particularly for repeat appointments.

    Read more

    We have a rapidly growing network but managing it has certainly become much easier with Aruba. It’s easier to connect new devices and applications and to ensure we have a safe environment for our hospital.
    Frank Pongers, Project Delivery Manager, Infrastructure Services, Isala
  • Customer Profile

    Isala is a hospital that operates in five locations in the Netherlands: Zwolle, Meppel, Steenwijk, Kampen and Heerde. Using the philosophy of 'close if possible, further away if necessary', Isala guarantees quality healthcare in Southwest Drenthe and Northwest Overijssel.
    • Vertical: Healthcare
    • Location: Zwolle and other locations, Drenthe and Overijssel, the Netherlands
    • Customer size: Over 1,200 beds, 8,000+ staff, 4,000 computers, 22,000+ devices connecting daily

    Use Case

    Replace an ageing and becoming unreliable network to future-proof Isala’s operations and provide a solid foundation to enable ongoing growth and innovation in the Dutch healthcare sector.

    Requirements

    • Provide a stable, secure and innovative network environment for a top-level clinical hospital
    • Enable scale and flexibility to enable innovation
    • Build a secure and reliable network to enable work and appointments to be carried out remotely
    • Enable patient monitoring through wired and wireless network

    Outcomes

    • Builds a foundation for future innovation and growth through projects such as Connected Care
    • Provides 24/7 uptime to makes it possible to provide services as and when required
    • Saves critical staff time through asset tracking
    • Enables seamless transition to home working during Covid lockdown and for future workplace transformations

    As a teaching hospital and the largest clinical hospital in the Netherlands, Isala faces a series of highly challenging goals. With ICT increasingly becoming part of the framework for progress, Isala needs a stable, secure and innovative network environment.

    It is an environment that never stands still. Scale and flexibility are critical. “We have more than 8,000 employees using more than 4,000 computers in our hospital,” explains Frank Pongers, Project Delivery Manager, Infrastructure Services at Isala. “It's a 24/7 operation, so networking is essential for us, particularly for information access.”

    “We have more than 8,000 employees using more than 4,000 computers in our hospital,” explains Frank Pongers, Project Delivery Manager, Infrastructure Services at Isala. “It's a 24/7 operation, so networking is essential for us, particularly for information access.”

    Isala Hospital building exterior

    Realising an ambition for connectivity

    With the introduction of more connected devices, new applications and innovations such as smart band aids, wearables and home care solutions, Isala’s ambition is to sit at the forefront of technology and operate as a highly connected hospital – both internally and also for patients, their families and caregivers.

    Isala’s previous network was ageing, overcomplicated and struggling with compatibility issues.

    “More and more medical devices incorporate Bluetooth,” says Pongers. “But one Bluetooth network was interfering with our Wi-Fi network that we used for telemetry to monitor heart patients and that obviously had to take priority.”

    The situation was unsustainable, especially given Isala’s ambitions and the rapid expansion in connected medical devices.

    Deltics, a Dutch IT consultancy and Aruba partner, had previously managed network-migration projects for two other large hospitals, giving Isala the confidence that Deltics and Aruba had the necessary experience for such a large-scale project.

    Delivering a migration success story

    Having agreed a seven-year contract with Deltics, it soon became clear that the nature of Isala’s operations meant the implementation process would be atypical; continuity of service and functions would not just be nice-to-haves. “This is a working hospital,” explains Pongers. “We can’t just tell people we’re closing for two days because we’re replacing our network. It’s impossible.”

    Pongers’ early concerns were not, in the end, borne out. “I’d heard of other hospitals where things were entirely different, so nobody expected the migration to go this smoothly.”

    The new network pivots around Aruba ClearPass and Dynamic Segmentation, ensuring smooth policy enforcement and least-privilege access to critical data and applications. Such is Isala’s ambition, and the success of the migration process, that new functionalities such as asset tracking were deployed immediately.

    In partnership with Deltics and Aruba, Isala has created a network environment that enables the hospital to introduce new functionality that was not previously possible, while 24/7 uptime makes it possible to provide services as and when required – and without hampering future developments.

    Isala Hospital open seating above the lobby

    Enabling smart solutions to record early wins

    Even before full implementation had been completed, Isala recorded some crucial early wins. Covid meant many of the hospital’s staff worked mainly from home and the new network made the transition quick and easy. “The IT department here is 140 people,” notes Pongers, “but on any given day, only around 50 at most now need to be present on location. Supporting roles like secretaries and assistants can also prepare much of what they’re doing remotely.”

    This extends to departments such as radiology, where more radiologists are using remote access points to operate diagnostic workstations at home. “It keeps critical staff healthy and they waste less time travelling,” says Pongers. “It also means their availability is more flexible. It’s a major time-saving solution.”

    Pongers also identifies the asset tracking system as an important enabler in terms of time and consistency. Isala’s main site in Zwolle covers over 100,000 square metres and locating key clinical equipment over such a vast area was once problematic. Pongers recalls that nursing staff would typically waste between 15 and 30 minutes a day searching for medical devices. “It can be hard to find things in a facility this size and asset tracking is a very smart solution.”

    Supporting a safe and growing environment

    The most important aspect of the new network is, however, the opportunity it provides. In partnership with Deltics and Aruba, Isala has created a network environment that enables the hospital to introduce new functionality that was not previously possible, while 24/7 uptime makes it possible to provide services as and when required – and without hampering future developments.

    Isala’s Connected Care is an important potential beneficiary, which aims to provide telemonitoring, online consultation and control interviews, in combination with home visits by specialised nurses. The project’s aim is to reduce the need for in-person hospital visits, particularly for repeat appointments.

    We have a rapidly growing network but managing it has certainly become much easier with Aruba. It’s easier to connect new devices and applications and to ensure we have a safe environment for our hospital.
    Frank Pongers, Project Delivery Manager, Infrastructure Services, Isala
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