University Hospital South Manchester (UHSM) is implementing a wireless local area network to help doctors work more effectively during night shifts and ensure compliance with legislation governing doctors' hours.
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The hospital has equipped doctors with Compaq iPaq PDAs linked to the wireless Lan so that they can be contacted quickly in an emergency. The system can also be used to provide doctors with any information they need on the spot.
The wireless Lan, from Aruba Networks, underpins proprietary NHS software, known as iBleep, that enables staff to generate, accept and interact with calls from wards. In the past, doctors were bleeped and had to call in via land lines for more details.
Steve Baldwin, deputy network manager at UHSM, said, rather than trying to pinpoint a doctor by faxing a page and hoping that they receive it and phone through, ward staff could now send more detailed information directly to the doctor's PDA.
Sue Barrow, pay and workforce manager at the hospital, said the NHS's Hospitals at Night initiative, which recommends the provision of cover through a multidisciplinary medical team, was the instigator of the programme.
She said the project was also designed to take into account the European Working Time Directive, which limits the time doctors can work because of health and safety reasons.
The project, which began last October, is two-thirds of the way through and is expected to be completed this summer. It is being implemented in partnership with network integrator Vanix.
Data on the network is secured using the WPA and WPA2 wireless encryption standards.
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