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News archive - September 2017

IP - A new chapter in communication

IP - A new chapter in communication

Modern nurse call systems must be both adaptable and flexible enough to enable technological advances to be incorporated, whether those advancements come a few months down the line, or many years into the future.

Becoming increasingly popular among specifiers are ‘fully-IP systems’.

Fully-IP systems deliver IP capability to the bedhead and allow for the largest degree of flexibility as the systems can grow, change, adapt and expand with the hospital, removing the fear and problems associated with technology becoming outdated.

These build on the previous IP-based systems, which utilise an IP Network, but do not bring the IP infrastructure down to each bedside.

New technology

Darren Beeson, national sales manager at Wandsworth, which installed the first IP-based system at Birmingham Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 2008, said: “A ‘fully IP to the bed’ system enables new technology, offered by either the nurse call system provider or any third party, to be easily integrated.

“The result is a dynamic hospital infrastructure that can easily change with needs of patient, practitioners, and managers.”

He added: “The benefits of Fully-IP systems include comprehensive site-wide administration, reporting and alerting capabilities; much-easier and faster transfer of calls between staff; integration with third-party communication systems - including mobile phones, VOiP devices and many other third-party panic systems; and the ability to connect many other hospital devices, for instance lighting and access controls.

“A full IP system is also fully scaleable, meaning that from a simple 30-bed ward all the way to a whole site of 1,200 beds; the deployment and management of the system is reliable, effective, and straightforward.”

Working in harmony

Static Systems is also seeing an increase in interest in its fully IP solutions.

Marketing manager, Jenny Terry, said: “IP nurse call systems are now being embraced by a number of NHS and private healthcare providers.

“When a system is fully IP - that is it employs industry standard PoE/IP connections throughout - the benefits can be wide reaching.”

However, not all IP nurse call systems are ‘fully IP’ and Terry highlights the importance of establishing exactly what level of service is being provided.

Offering advice to trusts looking to adopt fully IP solutions, she told hdm: “It is important to acknowledge that not one size fits all. Accordingly, clients should engage at an early stage with nurse call providers and those providers need to demonstrate an understanding of the different options, taking into account building constraints, services installation, and trust IT policies and practice.”

She added: “What is vital is to ensure, whatever the technology, that user functionality is consistent throughout the site and capable of working harmoniously with ward culture.”

In the future, fully IP systems are expected to further evolve to meet the needs of changing health services.

Terry said: “It is reasonable to assume that as IT technology continues to evolve, driven by the consumer market and the IOT; infrastructure equipment costs will reduce and innovation will continue apace. This will encourage the convergence of IP and the sharing of data, which, in turn, leads to IP nurse call systems becoming the communications hub of the ward environment.

“At Static Systems it is already common practice to integrate site-wide critical alarm notification with flow and environmental management features. We think this will also continue; bringing with it further improvement in patient safety and the patient experience, as well as improved efficiencies and better use of resources.”



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