Kingston General Hospital researchers bring real time information to patient bedside using Avaya wireless and VPN solutions

Toronto 18 November 2002Avaya Inc., a global provider of communications networks and services for businesses, is collaborating with Queen's University Anaesthesiology Informatics Laboratory (QUAIL) to deliver real time information to patient bedsides with Avaya wireless and VPN solutions. The department of the Anaesthesiology's Acute Pain Management Service at Kingston General Hospital (KGH) is serving as a trial environment for a broader implementation of wireless networking.


The Avaya Wireless data network will incorporate the latest state-of-the-art encryption with Avaya Virtual Private Network (VPN) solutions, and is designed to meet or exceed the requirements specified in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

The Avaya wireless data networking solution, working in concert with software developed by QUAIL and currently being tested at KGH, can give health care professionals access to the most accurate and current medical information at a patient's bedside via their personal digital assistants (PDAs) or other portable devices.

The technology is designed to help health care professionals provide better patient care by increasing their ability to securely access patient records, lab results and pharmacy data, and view diagnostic images such as X-rays or CT scans from anywhere in the hospital. Early QUAIL research shows the wireless computing initiative will increase efficiencies and productivity with better, real time access to information.

"Through this research, KGH is leading the way among hospitals in its proven ability to use wireless technology at the point of patient care", stated Dr. David Goldstein, medical director of acute pain management at KGH. "Our research is exciting because we hope to prove that caregivers can have timely access to patient records and current medical information at the bedside, helping them to make clinical decisions more effectively and with fewer errors."

Kingston General Hospital is the major tertiary care referral facility complementing community hospitals and other health care providers serving Southeastern Ontario. Integrally linked with Queen's University, the 452-bed hospital supports a comprehensive array of acute and ambulatory clinical services in an academic environment.

"No other hospitals that we know of are this advanced in their research of the clinical application of this technology, so it was important that our communications and networking vendor could provide superior technology. Throughout the pilot testing, Avaya stood out as a leader in quality and reliability, with the most comprehensive solution at the best price, Dr. Goldstein added."

QUAIL selected the Avaya wireless portfolio to provide KGH researchers with an industry-standard, 802.11b wireless data network. An Avaya wireless access card in the researchers' PDAs or tablets allows them to connect with any of the 94 wireless local area network (LAN) access points located in the hospital to obtain patient information. The implementation of Avaya IPSEC VPN solution will protect the patient information as it is accessed via the local area network. QUAIL with Avaya BusinessPartner, Bartlett Communications Solutions, installed the wireless LAN in KGH's clinical areas serviced by the Acute Pain Management Service.

"Mobility is proving to be an invaluable tool for professionals in the health care industry", stated Patrick Lance, vice president of marketing, Avaya Canada. "We are very pleased to be a part of this groundbreaking research to test wireless access to patient information anytime, anywhere, with the goal of driving efficiency and effectiveness, while improving patient care."

Avaya wireless LAN solutions follow the guidelines adopted by the 802.11 standards committee of the IEEE, an independent organisation comprised of representatives from all major product developers in the wireless industry. As a result, Avaya wireless systems meet stringent guidelines for security, function, and quality.

The QUAIL software will be marketed through its spinoff company, Portable Health Intelligence (PHI). Funded under a grant from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Innovation Trust, QUAIL initially developed the software to allow health care professionals in the hospital's Acute Pain Management Service to closely monitor patients in the areas of pain history, reaction to treatment, and potential side effects of medications. PHI's first product, Patient Data Portal (PDP), gives health care professionals secure, controlled yet flexible access to patient records, lab results, pharmacy information, and digital imaging in real time at the point of care.

Since 1999, QUAIL has been conducting studies and developing a broad range of solutions and services, to provide tools for health professionals with the goal of improving quality of patient care and increasing efficiency. The research group, under Mike Rimmer, Director of Technology and Development, has been exploring the use of handheld devices and wireless technology to be used in conjunction with software they have developed to enable comprehensive, timely patient information at the point-of-care. While the initial impetus for development evolved from Anaesthesiology, growing interest has led to the development of applications across disciplines including palliative care and medical education, and in a variety of settings, from hospital to clinic to home.

Avaya Inc. designs, builds, and manages communications networks for more than 1 million businesses worldwide, including 90 percent of the Fortune 500. Focused on businesses large to small, Avaya is specialised in secure and reliable Internet Protocol (IP) telephony systems and communications software applications and services. Driving the convergence of voice and data communications with business applications and distinguished by comprehensive worldwide services, Avaya helps customers leverage existing and new networks to achieve superior business results.

With Canadian headquarters in Markham, Ontario, and offices across the country, Avaya employs more than 350 people in Canada. More news on Avaya is available in the VMW February 2002 article Avaya delivers converged network for telemedicine and wireless communication at Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Leslie Versweyveld

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