New high-tech hub improves patient care

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With a snip of the ceremonial ribbon, albeit one made of magnetic tape to symbolize the move to new technology, Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) officially launched a new state-of-the-art innovation centre on Tuesday September 9, 2008.

After six years of planning, Mark Farrow, HHS Chief Information Officer and Assistant Vice President of Information and Communication Technologies is realizing his vision of a centralized high-tech hub for the entire HHS organization. At a cost of approximately 1.5 million dollars, the new facility has been designed and built to inspire collaboration and innovation. “We are extremely proud of the new innovation centre we have created to bring and introduce new technologies to the organization and the health-care community,” says Farrow.

In an open concept space spanning across 14,000 square feet, over 80 ICT team members which include help desk, infrastructure, customer service, project management, production support and web development staff have been brought together to develop health-care innovations for tomorrow. By creating a single space for a multi-function team, collaboration and interaction is made easier as staff members are physically accessible to one another for consultation. Impromptu meetings within project teams can also be conveniently arranged as modern furniture pieces within the new space have been selected for their mobile features, allowing staff to quickly come together.

Increased interaction essentially enables the team to rigorously trial, test and troubleshoot new technological solutions before they are widely implemented across HHS. A secure test lab located on site provides an ideal environment for this purpose. One of the solutions currently being analyzed is Microsoft’s unified communications technologies running on HP hardware – a technological first in Canada within a health-care organization. The success of this solution will allow staff to work wirelessly and still remain connected to telephone, voice mail and e-mail anywhere, anytime. With health care becoming a more mobile industry, new technology, especially those that can be brought to the bedside, is essential to further enhancing patient care.

In addition to HP Canada and Microsoft Canada, other technology leaders such as CCSI Compucom, CISCO Systems Canada, Dell Canada, gloPlug, IBM, NetApp, Nortel, and Panduit Canada have also supported HHS’s health-care technology vision. Together, these leading vendors have donated over $350,000 in hardware, software and services to the new innovation centre. CCSI Compucom was amongst the first of the partners to contribute to the new hub, donating $50,000 in hardware and services to HHS.

“We are very proud to be part of this initiative and proud of being able to work with all of our partners in bringing new technology to HHS,” says Phil Soper, Vice President and General Manager at CCSI Compucom. “We don’t often see a facility like this one. The new space truly demonstrates the importance of IT within the organization. Moving forward, we hope that we can continue to be a key enabler at HHS.”

Equipped with the latest and greatest gadgets and devices, HHS is ready to move to the forefront of providing innovative health care. “These are truly exciting times for us,” says Farrow. “By partnering and working with industry leaders, we have the infrastructure in place to cultivate innovative solutions in the field of health care.”