Replacing Pagers with Mobile Technology
Wellington Hospital is one of the main facilities in Capital & Coast District Health Board (CCDHB) and serves about 300,000 people in Wellington City and its suburbs. CCDHB used to run an internal emergency services number 711 and calls internally are made to this number for specific clinical emergencies and events such as fires or security related issues. These calls are answered by an operator and messages were then sent to appropriate personnel via a paging network that is reaching end of life. Pagers had worked well for about 30 years but with the paging network due to be turned-off soon, CCDHB were looking for an alternative with more functionality. A decision was made to allocate smartphones as replacements for the pagers and an RFP was issued for a secure messaging platform that was reliable and affordable.
After investigating all offered solutions CCDHB chose Mobile Mentor to supply the AtHoc technology platform. This was identified as the best solution partly due to the fact that when an alert is issued it is very difficult to ignore – they had not seen this in other solutions. Within days CCDHB had a proof of concept set up. The POC went well and a production environment was implemented within days of signing a contract.
CCDHB had initially only identified one use case for the solution but soon identified further use cases. They saw the value in being able to respond directly to the message (not possible with pagers), as well as seeing that the message had been received. Use cases soon expanded to include desktop alerts for known IT issues or events impacting the entire building such as disturbances to water supply.
CCDHB is also the leading provider of a number of specialist services, including neurosurgery, oncology, neonatal intensive care and specialised mental health services, for the upper South Island and lower North Islands, serving a total population of about 900,000 people.
CCDHB has the equivalent of around 4,300 full time staff and is the sixth largest district health board in New Zealand with an annual budget of more than $1 billion to deliver health services directly and to contract external providers, such as general practices, rest homes and pharmacists, to provide care.