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March 3, 2010

Aruba delivers antenatal care to Manchester NHS Trust

Secure remote access to maternity records provided

By Vinod

University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust (UHSM) has improved its antenatal care by scrapping paper-based notes and providing midwives with secure remote access to maternity records.

Using Aruba’s Virtual Branch Networking (VBN) remote access devices, midwives now use laptops that have secure access to expectant mothers’ maternity records. Previously, they relied on the women to remember to bring their handwritten notes to each appointment.

The challenge for the Trust was that midwives usually met women offsite in non-NHS buildings rather than dedicated antenatal centres, such as Sure Start Children’s Centres. “Midwives may be in a room one day providing antenatal care and the next day the room is used for learning difficulties and then as a nursery,” said Ray Burdge, IT infrastructure manager at UHSM.

The Trust had already installed an Aruba wireless LAN in 2007 and had 300 access points across its site, but this was the first time it was looking to extend access beyond its own facilities. Installing simple and cheap remote access points (RAPs) provides secure remote access to UHSM’s data centre, which handles the VBN configuration, management and security.

No training was needed, as the midwives were able to use the same log on and password procedure they were already using for the recently implemented nationwide Evolution maternity system. It also meant midwives were able to check their emails and access the Trust intranet to check policy procedure information, instead of only accessing this data back at the Trust offices.

“The general feedback is that midwives have taken to this better than expected after being in the paper world for so long,” said Burdge.

Currently, midwives cannot access records on home visits, so UHSM is considering placing transmitters in their cars to create a link with the data centre. It is also looking at deploying RAP technology to other clinicians such as radiologists.

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