Al Zahra Hospital Dubai (AZHD) has implemented a high-density, Gigabit wireless network from Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, across the entire hospital. The infrastructure, based on the latest 802.11 ac wireless standard, has resulted in a 50 per cent increase in staff productivity relating to information access and enhanced patient experience as the platform has enabled the delivery of new services.
AZHD has always strived to provide the best possible environment for its patients and staff and the technological advancement in the region meant that Arjiel Guevarra, Network Engineer at AZHD, had to provide modern high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity for patient-care departments. “We needed to upgrade to 802.11ac technology and required a robust solution as it would be utilised not just by all our patient-care departments including patient wards, labs and pathology departments, and clinics, but also by the patients themselves,” said Guevarra.
Guevarra and his team clearly outlined the requirements for the new solution. “From a technical perspective, we needed high speed, reliability, scalability, availability and compliance with the highest network security standards,” he said. “From a business perspective, its TCO had to be reasonable and its SLAs flexible enough to meet our business operations,” he added. “And finally from an IT user perspective, we prioritised manageability, administration and intuitiveness for the support team.”
With the support of Aruba’s qualified local partner, AZHD’s IT team carefully designed and deployed the solution. This began with the installation of Aruba’s 2920 Series network backbone switches to guarantee the speed, bandwidth and availability needed to support the wireless infrastructure. Over 200 Aruba AP-205, AP-103 and AP-105 Access Points (APs) were then installed across the hospital delivering Wi-Fi coverage throughout the premises. Finally, two Aruba mobility controllers were deployed to centralise management of this extensive AP network.
“The entire implementation was completed in under two weeks with no inconvenience to our patients. This really speaks volumes for the ease of installation of Aruba’s solutions,” stated Guevarra.
Improvements in staff productivity were noticed immediately following the deployment. The solution saves half the time staff require to seek information from different departments by making it available for them on the go. By connecting to one of the 200+ wireless access points across the hospital, both healthcare and admin staff alike can securely access clinical or business-related information as soon as it becomes available.
“One of the major benefits has been that this allows care givers to access patient information at the bedside. It helps create a good patient experience when the physician is discussing a patient’s results with them right there, rather than saying ‘I’ll get back to you with that later’, and then returning after three or four hours, or forgetting completely,” explained Guevarra.
Aruba’s Wi-Fi network can also be accessed with ease by a variety of visitors within the hospital’s premises, depending on their role, a feature made possible by the mobility controller. “We extend Wi-Fi access to our guests and community-based doctors, as well as patients and their families. The Internet is now part of Dubai’s Smart City initiative; it’s everywhere from airports to cafes to restaurants, so now it’s also part of our information processes as a smart hospital,” said Guevarra. Here the stability and availability of Aruba’s solutions enjoy added significance as today, typical visitors have up to four mobile devices, adding greatly to the connection density.
In addition to completely fulfilling the hospital’s business, technical and IT user requirements, Aruba’s solutions have enabled the IT team to implement different IT initiatives like wireless IP phones, user connectivity, guest Internet, hospital-wide coverage, bedside access for the care team, email access, BYOD support and easy access to corporate systems and resources.
Commenting on the future, Guevarra said, “The next phase of our project will involve patients being provided with tablets at their bedsides, which they can access at any time. They will have control over their entertainment, meal ordering, communicating with their care team, viewing their recent results, seeing the goals that have been set for them and understanding what they need to do to achieve them. Engaging with patients in this care delivery model is something we are planning for, and this wouldn’t be possible without Aruba’s coverage and support.
“We have planned with Aruba to make all our networks wireless and to deliver the Mobile-First experience. If you consider the future of technology in healthcare, it will need supporting by high-speed wireless networks, which will require a very stable and scalable backbone to cope with the volume of traffic.”
Commenting on the significance of the Aruba Mobile-First implementation, Guevarra concluded, “It has played a big role in the growth of the hospital, for both operational and clinical outcomes, while also supporting our patient experience. Aruba Mobile-First network business solutions have helped us greatly since our establishment in 2013 in healthcare delivery and smooth business operations. Today, Aruba continues to excel and enables us to transform the business to the next level with next generation technology.”