For doctors and nurses, accessing patient information at any time from any location is not just a nice to have. It’s critical. To work more smartly, they need to be able to find out everything they need to know about their patients from anywhere in the building, or even from home.
And that means moving away from paper records that could only ever be accessed by one person in one place at any one time. It means avoiding handwritten records with sometimes illegible handwriting that can lead to medical errors.
With two main sites in Gloucester and Cheltenham, Gloucestershire NHS provides high-quality healthcare for the entire population of Gloucestershire. The NHS trust of around 8,000 staff offers a wide range of specialist hospital services.
The trust understands the essential and increasing role digital plays in healthcare. That’s why its five-year strategic plan, called Our Journey to Outstanding, lays out a program to transform patient care through technology. The significant digital transformation aims to provide care for the next generation of patients.
Implementing electronic patient records was to be the first step on that journey. But finding a robust and resilient route to the cloud was a challenge. After all, while the IT engineers at Gloucestershire NHS manage the trust’s IT system day-to-day, identifying and deploying a new solution would be more challenging.
Gloucestershire NHS turned to solutions partner LIMA Networks. With a portfolio that spans from the data centre, cloud, and managed services to security and performance monitoring, LIMA has been at the forefront of understanding how technology can transform business since 1997.
To identify an optimal solution for its clients, LIMA’s team of dedicated experts really listened to the NHS trust’s requirements and paid attention to what they were trying to do. LIMA identified that VMware Cloud Foundation offered the perfect backbone for the suite of products Gloucestershire NHS is delivering as part of its digital transformation. The modern hybrid-cloud solution combines VMware vSAN™ storage technology, VMware NSX® Data Center networking, and VMware vRealize® Suite for management and automation:
• vSAN provides the ideal storage platform to power VMware Cloud Foundation as a full-stack hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solution
• NSX Data Center provides enterprise-level security, ensuring the trust can protect patient data against cyberattacks aimed at legacy platforms, for instance
• vRealize Suite combines automation and operations capabilities for a hybrid-cloud environment. Its dashboarding provides deep intelligence on what’s happening on the platform.
“It became apparent very early on that VMware Cloud Foundation ticked the key boxes for Gloucestershire NHS in terms of its transformation journey,” explains Mark Howie, account director at LIMA Networks. “We helped them and supported them in the migration of the existing application platform and once some of the older infrastructure had been retired, they were then in a position to accommodate the rollout of electronic patient records.”
VMware provided the technology and vision and began the architectural process. LIMA provided the implementation experience and expertise. LIMA devoted a network specialist, a server infrastructure specialist, and a VMware specialist to work with Gloucestershire NHS. The team spent 100 percent of its time on the project.
LIMA’s level of expertise meant the NHS trust wasn’t deploying the solution blind; its commitment was critical to Gloucestershire NHS moving at pace – the trust deployed the new solutions within nine months.
“I don’t see how we could have delivered this project without a knowledgeable and committed solutions partner like LIMA,” says Tim Mullan, IT transformation program lead at Gloucestershire NHS.
Today VMware Cloud Foundation provides a robust and resilient platform to support the trust’s digital transformation and, specifically, its new electronic patient record system. Moreover, when the trust had to facilitate remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, VMware Cloud Foundation provided the basis to give staff remote access to carry on working from their homes.
When Gloucestershire NHS embarked on its Journey to Outstanding, it knew it would be working with its solutions partner for a minimum of three – and probably five – years. LIMA has proved to be the perfect partner to guide and assist the NHS trust in its program to provide care for the next generation of patients.