Bell Canada to implement converged voice, video, and data network from Cisco Systems at Chatham-Kent Health Alliance

Chatham 02 October 2002Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) is taking advantage of next-generation network technology from Bell Canada and Cisco Systems to power advanced voice and data services over an Internet Protocol (IP) network. CKHA will be one of the first hospitals in Canada to feature an IP communications system to deliver voice, video, and data over an IP network.

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According to CKHA, running voice, video, and data over a single IP network will allow the organisation to manage costs and provide employees with an exciting range of health care applications that will improve the quality of medical care and streamline internal efficiencies. Bell Canada will implement and manage the network infrastructure, which is based on the Cisco Architecture for Voice, Video and Integrated Data (Cisco AVVID).

"Chatham-Kent Health Alliance is dedicated to providing state-of-the-art health care into the next century and our advanced new network infrastructure will play a key role in achieving our goal", stated Jerome Quenneville, Vice President, Finance and Corporate Services at Chatham-Kent Health Alliance. "A huge component of the quality of care we deliver to patients is based on access to information. Our vision is to be able to use our high-speed network to expedite patient information to medical staff more quickly and efficiently across all three hospitals."

CKHA is investigating a number of innovative IP communications solutions, including utilising Cisco SoftPhone technology to enable a truly mobile workforce; deploying IP Video Conferencing to power telehealth services and bedside video; and integrating voice recognition technology for medical practitioners.

"We are excited by the powerful range of converged voice, video, and data applications our network enables", stated Mr. Quenneville. "For example, we will soon be implementing a sophisticated new Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) that will run off our Cisco AVVID infrastructure. The new system will be more functional and we will avoid the cost of having to establish a separate, dedicated network."

CKHA, a partnership between Public General Hospital and St. Joseph's Hospital in Chatham and Sydenham District Hospital in Wallaceburg, Ontario, is currently undertaking a major renovation to consolidate both Chatham hospitals at a single site. The shared site will feature a new wing with 140.000 square feet of space and 80 percent of the existing 200.000 square feet will be affected by the renovation.

CKHA has already completed a successful IP telephony pilot project and will begin to install IP phones in its new wing in early 2003. The new wing will have a total of 380 Cisco IP phones, with 200 to be installed during the first phase of renovation. IP telephony will be deployed across the remainder of the hospital as renovations occur. CKHA plans to transition all phones to IP telephony.

IP telephony will integrate seamlessly with CKHA's traditional or private branch exchange (PBX) telephone system. This will allow CKHA to migrate from its current PBX system to IP telephony over time, while maintaining a single, consistent telephone identity.

"Bell Canada is committed to providing converged IP solutions that deliver increased value to our customers and offer them more communications options", stated Renato Discenza, Senior Vice-President, Bell Canada. "We are working with leading-edge institutions such as Chatham-Kent Health Alliance to help them take advantage of the Internet and advanced network technologies to improve productivity while maintaining high network reliability."

"Today's health care institutions are under enormous pressure to improve the quality of care, while reducing the cost of medical treatment", stated Brent Rebus, Vice-President, Enterprise Operations at Cisco Systems Canada. "The convergence of voice, video, and data onto a single IP infrastructure reduces total cost of ownership, while enabling an exciting range of productivity tools. From IP telephony, IP video conferencing and wireless connectivity, to e-learning and telemedicine, IP communications have the potential to drive enormous change in the health care industry."

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance is a partnership between Public General Hospital (PGH) and St. Joseph's Hospital (SJH) in Chatham and Sydenham District Hospital (SDH) in Wallaceburg, Ontario. This partnership brings together the strengths of each hospital to ensure the continuation of quality, close-to-home, medical care through a process which will consolidate services and reduce duplication.

Together, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance serves the medical needs of 110.000 people in the municipality of Chatham-Kent, South Lambton, and Walpole Island. Its staff of 1300 cares for over 173.000 inpatients, outpatients and emergency patients annually. CKHA is the third largest employer in the area and generates over $70 million in wages into the local economy.


Leslie Versweyveld

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