The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) in Ottawa, Ontario, has announced it will use Aruba Networks' WiFi Mobile Virtual Enterprise (MOVE) to connect 3,000 Apple devices at the medical facility, including iPads, iPhones and iPod Touch units.
TOH is the largest acute care hospital in Canada with 1,163 beds, 11,967 staff members, 1,159 attending physicians and 3,886 registered nurses.
MOVE is context-aware technology that allows hospitals to unify both their wired and wireless devices. The architecture allows doctors and staff the flexibility to travel from room to room to see patients while maintaining their network connection, according to Dr. Glen Geiger, medical director and chief clinical information officer for TOH.
At TOH, doctors use iPhones and iPads to access electronic health records (EHRs) and computerized physician order entry (CPOE) applications, in which doctors order medication. Aruba announced TOH's deployment of the MOVE architecture on Dec. 7.
Device fingerprinting in MOVE allows TOH to classify both wired and WiFi devices, Ben Gibson, chief marketing officer for Aruba, told eWEEK in an email. The network can support both hospital-owned and physician-owned iPads, he added.
At the hospital, staff physicians receive iPads to look at large images and text documents, while nurses use iPhones to view smaller blocks of information. Security workers and housekeeping employees get iPod Touch devices to support their roles, according to Dale Potter, CIO for TOH.
On iPads, doctors enter diagnoses in the exam room and show patients on-screen graphics, such as where the fracture points are in a broken hip. Patients can also view graphs of lab results on the doctor's iPad, Potter told eWEEK.
Aruba's authentication and security capabilities enable TOH's IT department to allow central network access to the Apple devices' information and apply quality of service (QoS) policies without a need for changing device- or network-configuration settings manually, according to Gibson.
A security feature on the MOVE network allows information to stream to iPhones and iPads when they're on and data to disappear from the devices when they're powered off, according to Potter.
TOH employs IBM's business process management (BPM) software (formerly Lombardi) to build workflow rules, Potter said. BPM allows health care organizations to maintain visibility throughout an organization's business processes. One use case would involve a nurse sending a consultation request to try to locate a doctor using Short Message Service.
The hospital implemented Aruba's MOVE platform because of the ability to use dynamic balancing of network loads.
Aruba's wireless infrastructure also provided the flexibility and scalability that TOH was looking for to innovate, Potter said.
The hospital could combine environmental sensors using Real Time Location System (RTLS) technology with radiofrequency identification (RFID) tracking of equipment and people, he noted. Future possibilities might include combining RTLS and RFID to monitor refrigeration temperatures for medication and using wireless technology to keep track of infants and their room conditions in a hospital, Potter said.
With TOH counting on the wireless network to allow physicians and other clinicians to access applications, the reliability of the MOVE network was a critical consideration for the hospital, Potter said. "If the wireless network goes down, the hospital will stop," he said. "We'll be stressing it beyond the point where most wireless networks are stressed as we roll out more mobile devices."
Rutland Regional Medical Center in Vermont has also deployed Aruba's MOVE architecture to manage its wireless network and allow doctors to use EHR applications and biometric equipment remotely to monitor patients' conditions.
In addition to iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches, the MOVE architecture will allow TOH to connect sensors to monitor patients' conditions, Potter said.