Connecting NHS buildings with strong mobile network coverage

An NHS trust in the UK was in dire need of strong, reliable mobile network signal at two of their hospitals. With one location being badly affected by coronavirus, the project had to be carried out fast, without severe disruption to either premises. Here’s how UCtel implemented Cel-Fi’s mobile signal boosting technology to deliver an effective, speedy solution.

The case for better mobile calls and data coverage

Like most healthcare providers in the UK, the trust has started to move towards a ‘mobile first’ strategy, with everything from patient records to colleague communications relying increasingly on mobile connections.

Mobile has become such an integral part of healthcare, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak, that the NHS has released official guidance on how staff and patients can use devices safely

Digital services that need mobile data and calling to function include:

  • Accessing digital patient records on tablets and mobile phones (particularly important for outpatients to specialist units such as diabetes management clinics and maternity services)
  • Communication between staff (especially those on emergency call)
  • Communication between patients and their next of kin (something that rapidly became a priority as coronavirus prohibited visitors to wards)
  • Organisation and digital planning (a rising number of Nurses now use mobile devices to plan rotas and patient visits)

Why WiFi and external mobile signal doesn’t always work

While WiFi can offer a partial solution, it’s often inconsistent across an entire hospital building, especially for hospitals that are arranged in blocks with walkways and outside spaces between wards and facilities. These ‘drop zones’ are not only inconvenient, but can delay emergency communications.

As for relying on existing network coverage, healthcare buildings are among the worst affected by poor mobile coverage, with 82% of workers reporting bad signal in a recent study. While this can be due to location, it is mostly thanks to building layouts and materials such as brick, glass and metal obscuring signal.

A fast, efficient solution with Cel-Fi

As one of the hospitals was particularly badly hit by coronavirus, access to digital services – for staff and patients alike – had suddenly become a significant priority. The solution needed to be fast, without causing disruption to busy wards.

By installing Cel-Fi QUATRA signal boosters, UCtel could quickly bring reliable coverage from multiple networks into the premises.

Surveys were carried out to determine the quantity and location of the Cel-Fi QUATRA units to provide the coverage needed. UCtel’s team of engineers installed new cabling throughout the building to connect the system and tuned it to deliver the optimal signal.

Cel-Fi does not interfere with existing wireless products, making it safe to use alongside hospital equipment.

The solution is remotely supported by UCtel to ensure it continues to deliver the coverage required.

The result

The new solution has transformed a user experience where there was either no coverage or a patchy, weak signal, to a consistent coverage with a high data throughput.

Both hospitals now have reliable network coverage, allowing healthcare professionals, administrators and patients to access digital services and stay connected.

Authorised by 200 mobile carriers, Cel-Fi also automatically adjusts to changing network conditions, so that the hospitals can rely on network coverage regardless of environmental changes.

To discuss whether Cel-Fi could be the network solution your building needs, email: ivor.nicholls@uctel.co.uk or call 0333 344 4417. We can help you identify what’s causing your in-building signal problems and find the right solution for you.

Tags: Cel-Fimobile coverageNHSUCtel

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