Infrastructure injection gives hospital a clean bill of digital health

Jun 16, 2020

THE IT services at Milton Keynes University Hospital are now running at ground breaking speeds thanks to a future-proofing digital transformation.

Work to install digital connectivity of up to 5GB/second has been completed.

Now, with its own full fibre connection and broadband services, the hospital’s 100-plus departments and 5,500 staff, as well as its patients, have the infrastructure and connectivity they need to enjoy efficient and seamless access to systems and hospital-wide Wi-Fi. 

The platform will also make it possible for the hospital to adopt new digital tools that can transform services in the future.

MKUH sees and treats around 400,000 patients each year from across North Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire as well as Milton Keynes. This means it is increasingly imperative that the hospital’s network can match the pace of demand for services, said MKUH’s head of IT infrastructure Ollie Chandler, especially as digital technology and software solutions become increasingly embedded into the hospital’s operation and management.    

MKUH approached CityFibre, which is delivering the roll-out of Milton Keynes’ city-wide full fibre network as part of its £4 billion Gigabit City Investment Programme, and telecoms solutions specialist Boxx Communications about joining Milton Keynes’ citywide full fibre network late last year.

Its legacy network became too slow and unreliable to support important hospital activities like admin and staff training, as well as planned IT system upgrades. CityFibre and Boxx completed the installation of the new infrastructure in just over a month.

Mr Chandler said: “Data is required by everyone and in all places in a hospital environment, and accessing this data quickly and easily in a safe and reliable manner is essential. Thanks to CityFibre and Boxx, we have been able to improve the way our staff work and the care they can offer to the people of Milton Keynes.”

Staff can now access a plethora of online tools to learn, collaborate and share with colleagues and surrounding health and care organisations. This helps to ensure vital patient information, up-to-date guidance and polices, and best practice are instantly and securely shared, which hugely benefits patient care, Mr Chandler added.

The infrastructure and service allows patients access to hospital services from their home, such as virtual clinics and video consultations, where it is clinically appropriate. “This is a massive step forward in improving access to care, and, of course, it has proven invaluable in keeping patients safe during the Covid-19 pandemic,” Mr Chandler said.

CityFibre, the UK’s third national infrastructure platform, is investing £40 million in ensuring practically every home, business and public service in Milton Keynes has access to high capacity, gigabit capable connectivity that will future proof the city’s digital capabilities for decades to come. 

Jean Gowin, city manager for Milton Keynes at CityFibre

Its city manager for Milton Keynes, Jean Gowin, said: “It is stories like this that really bring to life the immense value digital connectivity now plays in our lives. Nothing is more important than our health and wellbeing, and digital technology can help to streamline service delivery, ensure the right people have access to the right data at the right time to improve outcomes and even provide new models of care delivery.”

Box Communications co-owner Dean Burgin admitted that they faced a race against time to meet the deadline for the project’s delivery. 

“Working with MKUH has been an exciting project for Boxx,” he said. “We are all about Milton Keynes and, as CityFibre’s flagship city, all three parties involved had significant motivation to get the Hospital connected.

“We typically have more time to deliver a project like this but after being called in at the last minute, after others had failed, the timescales were more than ambitious. But by working collaboratively, we delivered the connection in time ensuring MKUH’s broader digital migration plans were not delayed. 

“We demonstrated where, as a value-adding reseller, Boxx can fit into an organisation’s procurement strategy. We pride ourselves on bringing experience and expertise to enhance even the most established and highly qualified IT departments.”

 Mrs Gowin said CityFibre’s full fibre network is about meeting the city’s present and future data needs. “Our mission is all about driving digital transformation, fuelling growth and ensuring no part of our Gigabit community is left behind.

“Through our ‘build once, build right’ approach, our infrastructure is also capable of supporting future demand – up to 10 Gbps services and beyond – which services like MKUH may need in the not too distant future as innovations in digital health and telemedicine continue to flourish.”

Mr Burgin added: “It is impressive to see how far ahead the IT department at MKUH are and, being local ourselves, it gives us confidence knowing the infrastructure behind it is world-class.”

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