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BCH now open for business

$550 million Brampton hospital contains many firsts -- including 10GigE


November 1, 2007  


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Brampton Civic Hospital (BCH), Canada’s largest health care infrastructure project is packed with a virtual myriad of technology firsts.

The facility contains a fully converged 10GigE network infrastructure, the only one of its kind in the Ontario healthcare system, if not the country, as well as 52 data closets and 10,000 networks drops that have been installed throughout the $550 million facility, which began accepting patients at 6 a.m. on Oct. 28.

Another first for health care, said Tony Marcelli, manager of technical services with William Osler Health Centre, the organization that owns and operates BCH, is that all systems run on one single network.

“The Brampton facility is revolutionary in its use of technology in that every piece of equipment is IP-based,” said Judy Middleton, chief information officer at William Osler. “Our paperless environment promotes anywhere, anytime secure access to critical data, and was designed to improve the daily lives of staff and patients.”

“Virtually everything in this facility is designed to be more patient focused and to enhance healthcare delivery. It truly is leading edge for Canada.”

Two weeks before the first patient was admitted to the 479-bed facility, hospital administrators held a one-hour walkthrough for media in order to demonstrate various technology breakthroughs.

They included:

* Self-service registration kiosks that allow patients to register for treatment in less than a minute thus reducing registration time by upwards of 95%.

* The first site in the Ontario health care system to provide extensive wall-to-wall coverage of an 802.11 a/b/g-based Wi-Fi system.

* The first implementation outside the U.K. of TOMCAT, a sophisticated integrated cardiovascular diagnostic and information system.

* A wireless handheld device system called the Symbol MC70 mobile device from Motorola Corp. that allows nurses to provide quick response to patient calls at all times anywhere in the facility.

* The largest robotic installation of an auto-dispensing system for solid-based medications in Canada.

* The introduction of biometric security sign-on that allows users to sign on to a PC using finger-swiping technology in order to get into various clinical IT applications without having to remember a user name or password.

* Bar code wristbands for every patient.

* An advanced document scanning system designed to move health information management closer to the goal of becoming paperless.

“This new building and all its astounding technology is helping us to attract and retrain the best and brightest nursing talent, ” said Brenda Elsbury, chief nursing officer at the facility, which covers the equivalent of three football fields. “It is also providing nurses with more opportunities for advancement and growth.

She added that by automating and standardizing voice, call centre, alarm code and nurse call technologies into one integrated system, “we will be able to turn the concept of a silent hospital into a reality; and patients will find it easier to get a good night’s sleep. It’s a simple solution with important sidebar benefits.”

The communications infrastructure is powered by the Cisco Medical Grade Network, which includes the company’s Unified Communications system, a call processing offering, and upwards of 1,800 IP phones.

According to a recently released Cisco white paper, the healthcare industry is undergoing a transformation: “Faced with mounting pressures to reduce costs, while improving the overall quality of care, healthcare organization worldwide are increasingly turning to information technology to help address business and technical challenges.

“By creating a connected healthcare ecosystem — an integrated and interoperable system of patients, healthcare providers, financiers and support organizations – information can be exchanged more effectively among all key stakeholders.”