KGH Wi-Fi service signals new era

News / Patient Care
By Peter Jeffrey

Everybody loves a good wireless hotspot, and jumping online at Kingston General Hospital is about to get a lot easier.

This week, our Information Management (IM) department is flipping the switch on a new wireless internet system. The KGH Wi-Fi Guest Access service will replace the DataValet system that's been at KGH for the past seven years.

"The new KGH Guest Access service will be operated and supported by our IM department rather than by an outside company as before," says Bob Schaefer, Senior Manager of IT Infrastructure. "This will allow us to make sure the service is accessible and meeting everyone's needs."

And those needs are growing fast. Wi-Fi service is now available in most of our clinical care areas. On a typical inpatient unit, patients and their families are now using smartphones, tablets and laptops to go online. Our physicians, learners and other staff are also busy using mobile technology to jump on the web and our intranet.

"The revamped Wi-Fi will give our clinical staff the opportunity to use a range of online electronic tools and resources designed to assist them in delivering cutting-edge patient care," says Schaefer. "The new Wi-Fi service will also support patients and their families who use it to stay up to date and in touch with friends and relatives."

Logging onto our new Wi-Fi service will also be more efficient. Once your device finds our Wi-Fi signal, a new welcome page will pop up that spells out KGH's Terms and Conditions of Use, Security Considerations and a Disclaimer clause. These include reminders to people working at KGH to adhere to all hospital policies, specifically those dealing with professional conduct and the protection of private information.

The page also reminds everyone using the KGH hotspot not to transmit credit card information, passwords or any other sensitive personal information as a precaution.

As for the new system's technical performance, its software should speed things up for everybody, though there are still some important limitations to keep in mind. Everyone is still required to follow KGH's wireless devices policy that bans the use of any device with cellphone capabilities switched on within an arm's length (one meter) of any electronic medical equipment. Also, patients or family members hoping to use a large amount of data, to stream a movie for example, will likely have to wait until traffic on the network slows down later in the evening or night. The network's priority will be on moving smaller packets of information and clinical data.

"A big driver behind the launch of this Wi-Fi service is the creation of our new guidelines for people who want to bring their own devices into work," says Dino Loricchio, Manager of the Project Management Office. "To support this, we've also created several tip sheets with step-by-step instructions on how you can configure your iPad so it connects to your KGH or Hotel Dieu Hospital mailbox, as well as tips on how to connect it to the Citrix system."

During this week's switchover from DataValet to the new guest access system, the Wi-Fi service may be briefly interrupted in your area.