Sydney Children’s Hospital at Westmead has wrapped up a year-long trial of integrated wireless networking technologies to boost patient care and improve the efficiency of its manual processes. The project involved the installation of 40 Cisco 1200 series wireless networking access points, 40 Vocera hands-free communication badges, 10 Dell notebook computers, which used customized, battery-powered trolleys called COWS (computers on wheels), and 6 Dell PDAs.
The infrastructure provided access to patient records and a rapid voice communication system through the use of portable voice badges, which clinicians wore around their necks. The devices allowed for voice-activated calls to a co-worker, thus reducing “a lot of running around,” and could receive external calls since they are integrated with the hospital’s PABX. They also served as emergency beacons as they can simultaneously transmit a voice stream to all badges.
Prior to the trial, the hospital commissioned the NTF Group to perform a business process audit between June 2005 and December 2006 to determine the feasibility of the project. The research firm projected that, on the basis of staff-time reduction, the hospital will incur savings of A$450,000 ($352,700 U.S.) annually.