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Cloud success story - Beaumont Hospital

Beaumont Hospital has made a substantial investment in ICT over the last decade. It now hosts a large virtualised private cloud infrastructure in its own data centre, supporting 1,800 PC workstations and a current total of over 5,000 authorised passwords for staff and other users. It is Wi-Fi enabled throughout, with internet access for patients and visitors, and a Separate secure network for staff.

“We have a bring your own device (BYOD) policy for staff, with doctors currently favouring iPads.” said Martin McCormack, ICT director. “On the infrastructure side, we have been building for the national strategy that will group hospitals as a combined resource and we have St Joseph’s and some other sites anyway. So we have a robust, high performance network essential with very large diagnostic images being viewed in different places.”

Beaumont moved to a VMware virtual desktop with encryption for all users. Doctors can work through iPads on the move or in fact any type of computer from anywhere in the world, thin client touchscreens are on trial in the hospital, and yet all patient data remains secure in the data centre.

Customer Overview

The hospital’s required a unified communications (UC) system as a platform for everything from voice telephony to automated emergency and other alerts to machine—to machine communication using sensors and RFID tags.

PFH assisted the ICT team to build out the unified communications on the existing Siemens server and OpenScape office mobility solution and OpenScape Alarm Response (OScAR). “It is almost impossible to over-state the importance and potential value of this system,” said McCormack. “We have a dedicated communications server and can preprogram all sorts of automated tasks and scenarios. We are consciously and methodically innovating across all of our business processes and systems, working with the Innovation Value Institute in Maynooth, I am certain this whole unified communications area is going to be particularly fruitful.’’

He pointed to the cardiac emergency response system now in place. “All of our clinical and indeed other staff are trained to recognise an emergency and make the call,” McCormack said. “All the person has to do is press a specific key on the nearest phone to start a cascade of automated events. Within 0.2 seconds, the system recognises the location and alerts the cardiac team by audio bleep signal and text with accurate location. We have shortened our average response time by at least 30 seconds.”

Speed and efficiency has been complemented by economy, because the emergency teams are now equipped with lighter, smarter and cheaper paging units that can carry voice, audio and display text. The ‘presence’ capability of unified communications, showing where someone is and their availability status, is now being implemented on the Beaumont system. “It will be immensely valuable at what we call ’points of escalation’, when a doctor needs to consult a senior, registrar or consultant. “ McCormack said. “That presence feature will show what might be the best channel-phone, text, email or just forward the report or scan or whatever if the senior is available at a desk and screen. It is just efficient and time saving for everyone.’’

Another valuable ad hoc feature is ‘follow me’ routing. A consultant awaiting an important report can be alerted to its availability by any communications channel available to the system, including mobile phone. Where is Dr. X at the moment? On duty but in another location, just choose the best way to communicate. “Even just a one-click message to call back is valuable,” McCormack said.


Having won the contract, the PFH network team embarked on scoping the requirement which came in two parts; ‘The amount of data clinicians need, or use, is almost astonishing. “One doctor could be working with a total of maybe 3,000 lab results per week. Improving the efficiency and accuracy of how that information is accessed or distributed or signed off on is a major contribution to effective working,’’ said McCormack.

From the ICT team’s perspective, all sorts of scenarios can be modeled and auto- mated in the system. A menu would allow the users to invoke any pre-set communications alert or process with just alert or process with just a click or two.

The combination of unified communications and the wireless network opens up a range of other possibilities for Beaumont.