Admiraal De Ruyter Hospital (ADRZ) is the new name of the hospital created by the merger of the Oosterschelde and Walcheren hospitals and ServiZZ support services in January 2010. The hospital is spread over five sites in Goes, Middelburg, and Zierikzee in the province of Zeeland. It has 700 beds and employs more than 2,900 hospital staff with responsibility for all aspects of medical care. ADRZ also has Pathology, Medical Microbiology and Immunology, and Clinical Chemistry laboratories, and it plans to become designated as a level-2 Trauma Centre.
“To facilitate our merger plans and the deployment of new applications, we recently integrated and modernised two existing Juniper Networks wireless LANs,” says IT engineer Mark van Strien. “I used to work at the Walcheren Hospital, which started using these solutions for mobile ECG and CTG monitoring systems back in 2005 because of their high reliability, sound security, and central management software.” adds senior IT engineer Arjen van Dalen. “So of course that simplified the integration process.”
Many hospitals have just started or are about to start working with electronic medical records by integrating the WLAN for data and voice transmission. It makes life far easier for the doctors and nursing staff if they can refer to all of the relevant information about their patients on mobile computers at all of their sites. “For this to be possible, we needed a wireless network that is always available and highly secure,” continues Van Dalen. “To meet the need for new applications and to save on telephony costs, we integrated and modernised our location-bound WLANs and created a hospital-wide ‘mobility domain’.” “We chose Juniper Networks for the integration and upgrade project on the basis of our experience. We have been working with them for five years. They have always kept their promises and we have been completely satisfied with the performance of the equipment,” says Van Strien. “The integration of the infrastructure will enable us to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) further still, because operational control and security can now be managed centrally. And with VoWLAN, we no longer have the cost of maintaining a separate telephone network.” ADRZ is about to distribute 600 Ascom IP telephones that will connect via the “a” band.
Walcheren Hospital started using Juniper Networks solutions for mobile ECG and CTG monitoring systems back in 2005 because of their high reliability, sound security, and central management software. The Oosterschelde Hospitals had been working with a Juniper-based WLAN for several years as well. They were both very satisfied with the performance and support, and that simplified the selection process.
The hospital must be able to have blind faith in the availability of the network, particularly since the WLAN is also being used for all telephone calls. With its plans to become designated as a level-2 Trauma Centre, ADRZ set very high standards in this regard. “By clustering two of the Juniper Networks® WLC2800 Wireless LAN Controller appliances, we were able to create a fully redundant hospital-wide WLAN infrastructure with the highest possible reliability,” says Van Dalen. “We know from our experience on the individual sites that Juniper-based WLANs are highly reliable (following the integration of the infrastructure, we tested it with a scenario based on the failure of one of the controllers).”
The WLAN at ADRZ now consists of approximately 400 access points (mostly Juniper Networks WLA422 Wireless LAN Access Point devices) that are centrally controlled and secured via the RingMaster management software. “The access points to our wireless network look like fire alarms, which is an advantage in a hospital,” says Van Strien. “Most visitors and patients don’t even notice them. We have gained enough experience over the last five years to provide the technical support ourselves. If we encounter a serious problem, we can contact Juniper or their partner and they will deal with it immediately.”
As well as being used for an increasing number of medical applications and all of the internal telephony, the WLAN at ADRZ is also used to provide free Wi-Fi Internet access for patients and visitors throughout the hospital. “People often take advantage of this service during the admission process and also while waiting for outpatient treatments,” says Van Strien. “It is increasingly common to see people reading their email, chatting, and browsing the Internet on laptops and smartphones. Naturally the hospital applications are assigned a higher service priority and are highly secure, whereas the free public Wi-Fi network offers limited functionality.”
“Now that we have integrated and upgraded our WLANs, ADRZ has a future-proof infrastructure for all of its applications—an infrastructure that is both flexible and scalable,” concludes Van Dalen. Over the last five years, we have been very impressed by the way that they have really listened to our feedback and requirements and presented us with new developments as promised. We have seen the RingMaster software and clustering evolve from a nascent stage to a mature product and technology.”
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