Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Keeping hospital patients connected – one family’s Wi-Fi experience

May 4, 2017

For those who follow me on social media or listen to my podcasts, you’ll know that I am an unashamed geek – and that much of the time, I geek-out defiantly about Wi-Fi.

But until my mother went into hospital for a routine operation, it hadn’t occurred to me how much my family and I would end up relying on Wi-Fi. I could spend the rest of this blog discussing how the hospital uses Wi-Fi to connect medical devices, clinical staff and monitor equipment. This is of course correct, but what I want to talk about is the positive impact Wi-Fi has had on my family.

The hospital in question has Wi-Fi everywhere – and I mean everywhere. And they allow access to patients and visitors, simply and easily with just a couple of clicks. This is especially helpful because my mum isn’t young, so needs to be able to connect her tablet device to the internet quickly and easily.

Keeping her connected to the whole family is hugely important, and being able to use her tablet for video calls with her children and grandchildren helps keep her happy.

Sounds easy – but is it?

However, while making a video call might be simple at home, with just a handful of devices connected to your home network, it’s a different story in a hospital setting.  Here there are multitudes of patient and visitor devices plus staff and clinical devices, all relying on the Wi-Fi access, with many of them critical to the quality of patient care.

Achieving a great experience for virtually everyone and everything in the building isn’t easy therefore, but this NHS Trust has worked hard to design and build a Wi-Fi network that is second to none. Some of the best practices it uses are covered in my podcast with some of Cisco’s top Wi-Fi experts:

And in a week when we’ve learned that phone services in NHS hospitals are costing as much as 50p a minute and a month’s worth of bedside TV services can cost as much as an annual TV licence fee, the Wi-Fi access for patients and loved ones becomes even more important.

What else has having great Wi-Fi enable me and my family to do?

Well, it’s helped us to collaborate as a group, allowing us all to share information about how my mum is feeling, send progress updates, share photos, videos etc. – and even helps us coordinate our hospital visits.

If only the family had an app such as Cisco Spark to help us collaborate even more effectively, it would make connecting with each other a whole new experience. Have a listen to my podcast on Cisco Spark for more information on this incredibly useful and easy to use collaboration tool, and you’ll understand what I mean:

Wi-Fi has now become as important to patients and visitors as it is to hospital and staff.

In fact, I can’t imagine a time when there wasn’t Wi-Fi in hospital and we can only imagine the great developments it will no doubt deliver in the future to hospitals, patients and visitors.

For example, maybe one day there will be an app that allows clinicians, patients and family to connect, collaborate and share information in real time.

A nice thought to start with – and the possibilities are endless.

Find out more about Cisco wireless solutions and how digital transformation is helping health and care organisations do more with less and create secure, connected care environments.


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