Patients, visitors and staff are benefiting from a new Wi-Fi service introduced just before Christmas at South East Regional Hospital (SERH), thanks to a partnership with eHealth NSW. The Wi-Fi system allows patients and visitors to stay connected with friends and family, access entertainment, and manage their everyday lives, wherever they are in the hospital. Over the first three weeks of implementation, more than 300 users took advantage of the service. All SERH outpatients will have access to the service. All appropriate internet security filters are in place, and most patients use the service for video communication such as Skype, streaming music and videos and social media. “Enabling patient access to Wi-Fi has enhanced the care we can provide in the unit and made such a difference to patients and visitors,” SERH Nurse Unit Manager Oncology and Haematology, Margaret Theris said. “Many of our patients are here for a large portion of their day while they receive their treatment. Internet access means they can pass the time quickly browsing the web, connecting on social media or watching movies via streaming services. “It also provides a great distraction from their cancer treatment and they can do normal things like pay bills, shop online or keep up with work.” Supported by Cubesys, the Wi-Fi system has a free and paid service, with the paid option being better for activities that require faster download speeds such as online gaming or watching Netflix. “Access to Wi-Fi is everywhere these days, from coffee shops to cruise ships. So why not have the Internet in hospitals?” said Conference, Collaboration and Wireless Program Manager for eHealth NSW Jason Matthews, a specialist government agency that delivers information and communications technology solutions across the public health system. Thanks to a $20-million injection of State funds for Wi-Fi in hospitals and eHealth NSW’s work on building the Health Wide Area Network (HWAN), a state-wide roll-out of the patient Wi-Fi solution is close. “We are working with service providers to create clearly defined operational and cost models to make a state-wide roll-out a reality,” said Mr Matthews.
Above: South East Regional Hospital Nurse Unit Manager Oncology and Haematology,Margaret Theris with patient Danielle Scullin, who is thrilled with the new WiFi