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May 11, 2009

NHS Grampian gets new wireless network

Carillion to provide RFID, VoIP

By Steve Evans

Outsourcer Carillion IT Services has announced it will build a new unified wireless network infrastructure in partnership with NHS Grampian at its Foresterhill campus in Aberdeen.

The five-year, £1.1m contract will cover Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital and Aberdeen Maternity Hospital.

The wireless network is based on Cisco technology and will see Carillion install what is currently Cisco’s largest Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) deployment in the healthcare market worldwide for its 1142 Access Point, the company said.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags will be introduced, enabling the Trust to monitor and trace the location of medical equipment, which can often be very valuable. RFID tags should reduce the need to spend money replacing equipment unnecessarily and reduce the amount of time staff have to spend looking for equipment.

The deal should also help NHS Grampian to move towards a paperless hospital bedside. Real-time access to patient information from anywhere on site should reduce worker’s reliance on paper and the amount of time they have to spend at their desks.

The companies also plan to introduce a VoIP platform and enable staff mobile phone use across the internal network. Voice Over Wi-Fi (VoFI) handsets can also be introduced, replacing a pager system, which the company says should improve communications across the sites.

Paul Allen, Head of ICT Infrastructure, NHS Grampian, said: “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.

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“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.”

The system is expected to go live by the end of October 2009.

NHS Grampian provides healthcare for nearly half a million people spread over 3,000 square miles in both rural and urban communities in north east Scotland.

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