Women’s College Hospital expansion includes a healthy dose of IT benefits

When he looks outside his office window, Brendan Kwolek can see the next phase of Women’s College Hospital’s new facility being built, floor by floor. What’s more important to him, however, is knowing that the foundational IT network infrastructure for the project is already solidly in place.

Kwolek, the director of IM/IT for the Toronto-based health-care organization, has been working with HP Canada to deploy a range of networking products including HP 7506 Core Switches, HP 3800 Access Switches, HP MSM460 Wireless Access Points, and HP MSM760 Wireless Controllers that will be used in a 400,000 sq. ft. expansion and redesign of the hospital. The next step will be a rollout of the HP Intelligent Management Center (IMC), which sets the stage for the deployment of Epic, a health-care information system that will run on top of the network. The building project is expected to be complete by the end of 2015, but a 10-story building representing the first phase has been open for more than a year.

“We’re not the biggest hospital in the downtown but we’ve partnered with sizeable institutions,” he said, citing Sunnybrook Health Sciences and the University of Toronto. “We need to make sure we can connect and that we can handle the capacity requirements. There’s a lab that does very significant genetic research in breast cancer, and they have gigantic files and other things they need to send across the network. In the previous environment, it probably would have made us cringe. Today, there are no worries.”

Women’s College Hospital’s older buildings run on a mixture of Cisco and Brocade equipment, but Kwolek said they will be compatible with the new network and can integrate with the HP products. The new building has provided an opportunity to embrace voice-over-IP, virtual desktop infrastructure and other modern communications tools that could reduce costs and provide more flexible services, he added. However the biggest enhancement will be Epic, an electronic health record product provided by a vendor with the same name based out of Verona, Wis. Women’s College Hospital it will become one of the first ambulatory-only facilities in the country to offer Epic, which can allow patients to access their hospital records, schedule appointments and get test results.

“It’s replacing a lot of paper,” Kwolek said, because Women’s College hasn’t had a full-fledged EHR before. The system is being tested now and will roll out sometime next year.

Besides the software, the IT within Women’s College Hospital’s new facility may also set the stage for increased enterprise mobility options for the hospital and the potential for a bring your own device (BYOD) program. The institution is using the HP Mobility Security IDS/IPS System, which  detects and prevents wireless threats with automated policy-based security and location-tracking capabilities.

“I can’t be concerned about the reliability of wireless because we might bring in tablets,” he explained, or workstations on wheels. “It’s a different model of delivering care . . . I need to have the utmost confidence.”


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