Siemens seals €1.5m hospital comms deal

26 Jan 2004

Siemens has won a contract worth in excess of €1.5m to provide advanced communications technology to the Galway Clinic, the new healthcare centre being developed by Blackrock Clinic co-founders James and Joseph Sheehan and due to open in June.

Siemens will supply the hospital with an integrated information and communications network, radiotherapy equipment and consulting services. The communications system will network all the departments within the hospital. Moreover, the voice and data communications solution will be integrated with the hospital information system so that electronic patient records can be accessed from any device anywhere in the hospital.

One of the key applications, HiMed, allows patients to make telephone calls from their bedsides with a call-tracking system that is prepaid with smart card technology. The Siemens HiMed entertainment system will enable patients to watch TV, listen to the radio or surf the internet from their bedside. It also enables medical staff to retrieve up-to-the-second information about the patient (such as patient records) at any time from the bedside.

Another application being deployed is Siemens DAKS (Digital Alarm Communications Server) messaging and mobilisation system. In the event of a crisis such as a medical emergency or fire alarm etc, appropriate personnel are alerted and co-ordinated immediately by pre-programmed rules. It will also interface with the nurse call system so that patients can activate a nurse call from the telephone handset at the bedside and will reach a nurse using a cordless phone rather than a pager.

The data network infrastructure uses Enterasys equipment where a key feature of the design is User Prioritised Networking (UPN) where the network is configured to maximise each user’s experience based on their unique user profile. The network recognises each user as soon as they log on and automatically directs them to the applications they most frequently use eg, back office applications, hospital information system, email and web. This functionality will tie in seamlessly with the HiPath Communications Server at the core of the network to host a fully converged IP telephony solution based on information security, workflow efficiency and staff mobility. Doctors and external consultants will be able to log onto the network at any time of the day and from any location using Token ID tags.

James Sheehan, co-founder of the Galway Clinic explains: “This hospital will be the first of a set of hospitals throughout Europe designed for the 21st century using innovative technology to transform the way in which healthcare is delivered. The availability of accurate patient information at the touch of a button saves busy doctors and nurses from having to pull paper records or flip through charts. Such readily available information can have life-saving implications. The digital imaging capabilities will enable increased diagnostic accuracy and eliminate inefficient, time consuming processes and excessive paper flow.”

In addition to the communications technology contract, Galway Clinic has awarded Siemens Medical with a contract for high tech radiotherapy equipment for the treatment of cancer. The ONCOR linear accelerator is capable of delivering leading edge treatments such as IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy) and will be equipped with a new and very advanced imaging system to verify the treatment accuracy.

The 100-bed Galway Clinic will be located at Doughisca Roundabout in Oranmore, Galway and aims to relieve the pressure of current waiting lists as well as adding another hospital on the western seaboard.

By Brian Skelly

Pictured: Gavin McCarthy, key account manager, Enterprise Networks, Siemens; James Sheehan, co-founder Galway Clinic and Phillip Sheehan, information communications technology project manager, Galway Clinic