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Middle Rhine Community Clinic
Gemeinschaftsklinikum (GK) Mittelrhein (Middle Rhine Community Clinic) is one of the largest healthcare providers in the region and one of the 10 largest employers in Rhineland-Palatinate. Offering expertise in virtually all medical specialties, the clinic is rated as a maximum care hospital. GK-Mittelrhein includes the hospitals in Koblenz (Kemperhof and Ev. Stift St. Martin), Mayen (St. Elisabeth Mayen), Boppard (Heilig Geist), and Nastätten (Paulinenstift). Around 4,000 employees serve almost 180,000 outpatients and inpatients at these five locations every year. In addition, subsidiaries are responsible for outpatient care, rehabilitation and prevention, as well as the care and administration of three senior citizen facilities. Revolution in healthcare: Making clinical operations more efficient with future-ready digital services Growth at GK-Mittelrhein necessitated the deployment of a comprehensive, future-ready WLAN solution to power their progress and streamline operations.
The facility needed to improve the efficiency of its medical specialists to reduce wait times. To be able to provide patients with adequate care, the operational procedures in the clinics had to be made more efficient. One way to accomplish this was through innovative medical technology or the use of digital services. Many efficiencyenhancing measures require a secure, flexible and comprehensive network solution. This also benefits patients, who have very different expectations of their hospitalization experiences than they once did. They want to distract themselves from their pain and the recovery process with access to social media and streaming movies or to maintain contact with family and friends via chat programs.
“ Results do not come from the installation of a new network solution, but through projects based on it, such as the digitization of patient care. Through modifications of the IT infrastructure, we can now realize projects that reorganize clinical routine more efficiently.”
Stellv. IT-Leiter, Gemeinschaftsklinikum Mittelrhein
The aim of the entire project was not only to offer patients internet access, but to develop an infrastructure for all digital services, so the day-to-day processes in the hospital could be supported and streamlined. Therefore, the new solution had to work across locations and reliably serve a large number of various mobile devices.
It was important that employees did not have to reconnect with the network when changing locations. In addition, the network had to meet the highest security standards, because the introduction of digital services—with the long-term goal of significantly reducing paper consumption—also meant digital storage of patients’ sensitive data.
Ralf Heepenstrick, stellvertretender IT-Leiter, Gemeinschaftsklinikum Mittelrhein (Deputy Head of IT, Community Cinic Middle Rhine), explains it this way: “We want to move from paper files to digital patient documentation. However, digital services such as curve guidance charts [continuously updated patient data] or medication are possible only when the mobile devices are interconnected to perform the documentation. That’s why we were only able to realize the digital transformation by implementing a high-performance, uniform WLAN infrastructure.”
This WLAN infrastructure was tied to difficult structural conditions, including uniquely designed rooms such as operating theaters. When installing the WLAN solution, the day-to-day operation of the hospital should not be affected at all.
These steep requirements were not a problem for CommScope’s RUCKUS® portfolio of WLAN solutions.
Before implementing the CommScope RUCKUS solution, the five locations of GK-Mittelrhein used an outdated collection of legacy systems that did not provide area-wide service. After the merger, a unified network solution was needed to ensure optimal patient care. For the implementation of the project, GK-Mittelrhein therefore consulted with healthcare specialists at KraftCom GmbH. KraftCom’s experts have many years of experience in the industry and could bring the business range and the necessary resources to meet such steep project demands.
Since extremely stable comprehensive WLAN availability is essential in the clinic level—where network difficulties must not be allowed to interrupt medical activities—the new WLAN solution had to deliver first-class performance.
Christoph Kelm, senior healthcare consultant at KraftCom, knew the RUCKUS portfolio held the answer, as he explains: “RUCKUS offers a wide range of access and cloud solutions. Distribution across five sites requires some centralization of management. Regardless of whether it is data throughput per access point, the antenna technology BeamFlex, or centralized management by controllers behind such a large-scale installation, RUCKUS Networks was able to provide us with the technology we needed.”
In the meantime, several thousand mobile devices can connect to the network at once. In the deployed solution, up to 3,000 devices use the WLAN network every day.
In total, around 800 R310 and H510 access points were installed in the five hospitals of GK-Mittelrhein over six months spanning 2018 and 2019—enabling impressive indoor WLAN performance with the patented BeamFlex+TM antenna technology.
In addition, 110 ICX7450 and 7150 switches and a virtual WLAN controller SZ100 / VSZ-E were installed. The latter can be configured in a matter of minutes and detects new access points immediately, allowing them to be managed immediately. The controller is redundantly installed in the KraftCom data center, enabling the system supplier to continue managing the system and support GK-Mittelrhein even after completing the project.
Ralf Heepenstrick of GK-Mittelrhein says of their partner, “The cooperation with KraftCom can be summarized in three words: constructive, flexible, and solution-oriented. Without the manpower of KraftCom, we would not have been able to realize some important digitization projects.”
In the meantime, KraftCom GmbH has already equipped all buildings of the five locations of GK-Mittelrhein with the RUCKUS solutions.
With CommScope’s future-ready RUCKUS solutions portfolio and KraftCom GmbH as reliable partners, GK-Mittelrhein has already been able to realize several digitization objectives such as the introduction of electronic patient records. In the future, further digital services will be added in order to provide patients with the best care in the long term and to make the daily work routine of clinic staff even more efficient.
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