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New Wi-Fi service keeps Wagga patients connected

Patients, visitors and staff are benefiting from a new Wi-Fi service at Wagga Wagga Rural Referral Hospital (WWRRH) 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.

More than 1083 users have taken advantage of the service since it went live in mid-December 2017 with hundreds of outpatients to access the service annually.

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.

Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) Chief Information Officer Andrew Elliott said the team had worked on the setup, configuration, testing and commissioning for the Wagga Wagga site with early planning discussions occurring in other MLHD hospitals.

“This has been a great state collaborative project between multiple agencies, external vendors and users of the service that provides a positive patient experience,” he said.

WWRRH Orthopaedic Unit Nursing Unit Manager Ricky Tasker said access to Wi-Fi has enhanced the care provided in the unit and made a difference to patients and visitors.

“Many of our patients are here for some time while they undergo 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 treatment and they can do normal things like pay bills, shop online or keep up with work,” he said.

Supported by Cubesys, the Wi-Fi system has a free and paid service, with the premium 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 Jason Matthews, Conference, Collaboration and Wireless Program Manager for eHealth NSW, 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. 

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