Lifehouse to spend $4 million on core network

Clinicians, patients and their carers will bring their own devices and connect to a secure wireless network across the hospital

The Chris O'Brien Lifehouse at RPA in Newtown, Sydney

The Chris O'Brien Lifehouse at RPA in Newtown, Sydney

The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA will spend $4 million on a Cisco network to initially support around 300 hospital staff and their patients at the new cancer treatment and research facility, set to open in September 2013.

The $230 million centre – named after the late head and neck surgeon Chris O’Brien – has engaged system integrator Dimension Data to deploy and support new wireless infrastructure, expected to go live in February.

Lifehouse has begun designing the network to support mobile clinicians, patients and their carers who want to bring their own devices – such as Apple iPads and iPhones, Android or other mobile gadgets – to the treatment centre.

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Hospital staff will use softphones with headsets, which aids the hospital’s plan to create a healing environment to reduce anxiety cancer patients may feel if they hear constant phones ringing on first arrival for treatment. A call system will enable patients to speak directly to doctors from their beds to further reduce noise in the hospital.

Lifehouse also this month expects to select a supplier to provide a couple of hundred units of a patient information system at chairs supplied to cancer patients who are receiving treatment. This will provide television, movies on demand and internet and email access services.

“We have spent a lot of time [ensuring] the technology that we are implementing also aligns with the environment that we are trying to create,” Lifehouse’s chief information officer Anne Marie Hadley told CIO.

“We’ve tried to take the technology to the next level to address the issues and concerns patients have about the amount noise that they experience at a hospital.

“Patients want to feel empowered and one [way to do this] is by allowing them to bring their own device [to hospital] and stay connected to people while they are receiving their treatment.”

Hadley said Lifehouse is also working with Cisco to integrate the Wayfinder GPS application onto patient’s mobile devices so they are acknowledged when they arrive at Lifehouse. The application will also direct them around the hospital.

Securing applications and patient data

Many hospitals have baulked at wireless technology due to concerns over potential leaking of patient data. Cisco claimed that the “medical-grade” network at Lifehouse will protect the hospital’s information and applications with identity authentication tools, firewalls, intrusion detection systems and self-healing capabilities.

One of these core applications is the Lifehouse Oncology Information System (LOIS) – which the hospital created using the CharmHealth electronic medical record system – to meet its specific requirements.

Lifehouse will pull patient data – with each patient’s consent – from systems run by the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. LOIS will be able to communicate directly with the government’s personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) system.

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Other systems include a TechnologyOne financial management package, a suite of human resources applications, instrument tracking, and a picture archive and communication system for medical imaging.

Lifehouse expects to employ around 600 clinicians and administration staff by 2015.

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