VCU - Medical Center
VCU Health System

Objective

To provide tenants with a wireless infrastructure that could support technologies to meet their wireless needs and support safety applications.

Benefit

  • Two-way radio coverage for facility and security personnel
  • First-responder communication for guaranteed communications in the event of an emergency
  • Use of smartphones from major carriers
  • Wi-Fi installed in each individual condominium upon tenant request
  • Business tenants have a competitive advantage with readily available state-of-the-art wireless technologies

Major Challenges

Materials used in the construction of large buildings degrade and distort radio frequency signals.

Deploying Epic’s EHR for Stage 6 HIMSS Analytics
Hospitals called for nothing short of ubiquitous wireless.

 

Today, IT Help Desks are kept busy with wireless connectivity calls from frustrated clinicians. How have you managed to virtually eliminate these calls?

“Heavily dependent” on technology and mobile devices, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Health System needed an enterprise grade wireless solution that would enable every aspect of mHealth. We chose to standardize on the Black Box (BBOX) distributed antenna system (DAS) and WLAN solutions because they were the only vendor that could meet the medical center’s requirements for delivering all wireless services, from Wi-Fi and medical telemetry to 4G, with unsurpassed performance across facilities. VCU Health System’s deployment of BBOX solutions in our new state-of-the-art critical care tower kicked off a retrofit of the rest of the campus in order to provide the same highquality service levels and ubiquitous wireless throughout the organization.

Why was comprehensive wireless so critical to your IT strategy?

The next phase of VCU Health System’s wireless strategy is to meet clinicians’ demand for device independence. We want to support clinicians’ desire for complete access of all clinical systems via the device of their choice, be it a 4G smartphone or tablet, by using a virtual desktop application to enable wireless connection to the VCU network. The new performance capabilities of 4G cellular will enable clinicians to video conference with mobile devices and access patient information throughout the delivery network.

In anticipation of new 4G carrier services, BBOX refined its high level of systems engineering and integration required for 4G-capable DAS implementations, which VCU Health System valued.

How did BBOX help make the promise of ubiquitous wireless your new reality?

As a solutions-systems integrator BBOX understands both the customer needs as well as the in-building requirements for delivering cellular services. Although VCU Health System had wireless engineers on staff, it relied on BBOX’S deep domain expertise of in-building wireless design and deployment.

BBOX’s professional services organization helped us plan and deploy the network. They conducted a comprehensive assessment of the new hospital, enabling us to better understand how RF signals propagate; room-to-room, floor-tofloor and across the entire building. Wireless was engineered and deployed to address the unique requirements for each wireless service, device and application. In addition, their unique Wi-Fi deployment enabled us to “traffic manage” our WLAN clients – from VoIP handsets to mobile computers – minimizing data contention and optimizing network throughout and performance.

How would you measure the overall impact wireless has had on the delivery of care at VCU?

Of the roughly 1 million square feet of wireless capability at the campus, the new hospital represents approximately one third. We have had virtually no wireless issues. The rest of the VCU Medical Center campus operates on conventional wireless systems and is encumbered with gaps in service. Staff immediately notice the differences in service quality when they leave the new hospital.

We need to have an infrastructure that supports our wireless demand. It’s no longer a luxury, but a requirement for patient care.

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