KING’S COLLEGE HOSPITAL CASE STUDY

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (KCH) is one of London’s largest and busiest teaching hospitals, training over 900 dentists, 750 doctors and 300 nurses every year. It serves a diverse inner-city population within the Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham and Bromley boroughs with some of the most deprived communities in London, as well as some of the wealthiest. They are part of a collaborative partnership ‘Kings Health Partners’ (KHP) producing world-class research.

A multi-site Trust, their footprint includes KCH at the main Denmark Hill site with its state-of-the-art 120 bed critical care centre, Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH), Orpington Hospital, Beckenham Beacon and Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup.

KCH have been a Redcentric customer for 17 years. The first wireless network was designed and deployed in 2005. Over the last 16 years, a further 3 refreshes of their network services have been managed by our teams, with the fourth refresh currently in progress. The original surveying of the varied building estate to identify the best locations for access points was completed by Redcentric, and all sites re-surveyed more recently to account for changes to the estate, which consists of both new build, modern and temporary buildings as well as older Victorian buildings.

King's College Hospital - Always on experience for clinicians, hospital staff and visitors icon

An ‘Always-on’ experience for clinicians, hospital staff, patients, visitors and KHP partners

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A new wireless network which supported continuous innovation of medical services

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Support for mobile staff delivering data at the point of care, across different areas and sites

Challenges

In 2019, KCH invested in a complete refresh of its ageing wireless infrastructure and a programme of renewal and update took place across three acute hospital sites including its main site at Denmark Hill, the PRUH and Orpington hospitals.

Specifically, the programme needed to fulfil the following criteria:

  • Assured availability – Ageing wireless devices reaching end of life to be replaced with the latest technology to ensure quality and consistency of connectivity while maintaining a secure environment
  • Continuity of service – Careful project management to ensure a seamless transition throughout the agreed migration window without loss or disruption of service for staff delivering acute care
  • High-grade performance – Delivery of fast, reliable connectivity for an ‘always on’ experience for clinicians and hospital staff as well as visitor Wi-Fi access using WiFi Spark
  • Support for mobile clinical applications – Facilities such as voice over wireless LAN services supporting clinicians continuous communication in live clinical environments, mobile patient data systems for bedside prescribing and input of data, secure Wi-Fi access for the 3 Kings Health Partners onto the network to allow seamless collaboration
  • Support for corporate functions -Minimise disruption of the administration of the Trust across functions such as Finance and Exec teams using corporate data services

“This project was more than just a housekeeping refresh, it was pivotal to KCH’s on-going commitment to improve communication, efficiency and patient care across an extensive and demanding physical estate.”

Kings College Hospital is one of the most progressive and innovative hospital trusts in the country and Redcentric takes its supporting responsibilities very seriously.

How Redcentric helped

Key to the success of the programme of renewal, was continuity of services. This was achieved by:

  • Long-term customer relationship ensuring a good foundation of knowledge and a clear and shared understanding of objectives
  • Detailed solution design and project management of the deployment
  • A migration plan tailored to the customer’s need for continuity of services. This included in-hours and out-of-hours migration within a window agreed with KCH three weeks in advance
  • Careful preparation to ensure equipment was ready for migration within the agreed window
  • Consistent team-working and continuous communication at every stage of design, planning and migration and an element of flexibility to meet new requirements

Specifically, it included

  • Running both old and new wireless networks side by side
  • Pre-configuration of two pairs of controllers off-site prior to deployment
  • Installation of an initial 1500 new wireless access points (which increased to 2000 during the project) at existing locations, mostly in ceilings, across a range of sites
  • A staggered migration for new access points prior to removal of the existing points
  • Testing to ensure seamless handover between access points for wireless telephony

Nick Penlington: “Big infrastructure projects in hospitals are not the simplest of things but in the quality of the solution, the efficiency of the roll-out and the very pragmatic, responsive and accountable way of dealing with issues, Redcentric made this as pain-free a process as possible.”

“As a result, we have a very stable and fast wireless networking provision that is delivering benefit every day: medical staff can contact each other instantly wherever they are with less effort; while clinical care at the bedside can be optimised due to the ready access of Electronic Patient Records, fully mobile drugs trollies and specialist clinical applications.”

“Indeed these highlight the main outcome of the project – our ability to continually innovate in our medical services and help those in our care, safe in the knowledge that we have a resilient, scalable and truly enabling platform.”

“One of the advantages of having worked with Redcentric for some years is that we have built up a great degree of mutual trust, and they understand very clearly what it is we’re trying to create here.”

This latest project is an excellent example of properly understanding our technical, operational and aspirational requirements and responding with a solution and a deployment that will help drive a new era of clinical care.

Business benefits

Improved performance

Staff’s ability to communicate on-the-go across devices has measurably improved, which has had the added benefit of bringing on-board staff who were previously reticent about adopting new technology.

Enhanced reach and resilience

The new network has improved site coverage and uptime, especially in relation to mobile wireless telephony, with reduced incidence of call drop-out and call quality issues.

Improved experience for visitors

Enabled guest wifi access and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) capability for visiting friends and family as well as for authorised partners.

Easier management

Simplified management and control of both wired and wireless networks through administrative access to all networking equipment from a central location. In addition, KCH has reduced its server hardware from twelve boxes to four, thanks to the capacity of the new wireless controllers.

Stronger platform

The real value of the refresh lies in its creation of a technical platform that is truly enabling, that will support the increased use of mobile clinical applications, encourage new approaches to medical care and keep staff connected to colleagues, patients and data.

Improved patient outcomes

More effective and efficient care and a better in-patient experience have made this a key frontline investment.

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