This article was first published on the National Health Executive platform on 29 April 2020.
THE UNIVERSAL PROBLEM OF POOR MOBILE SIGNAL HAS FAR REACHING IMPLICATIONS FOR INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANISATIONS ACROSS THE UK. BUT FOR AN INSTITUTION LIKE THE NHS, IT COULD HAVE DIRE CONSEQUENCES.
The NHS has entered a digital transformation era which aims to harness the power of information technology to improve health and social care services. NHS Trusts are adopting a ‘mobile first’ strategy, providing smartphones and tablets to medical practitioners to be able to access and respond to patient information more quickly and easily.
Digital connectivity in hospitals and healthcare practices is paramount to this strategy.
The NHS has embraced digital connectivity within hospitals that enable people to stay in touch at crucial times; whether that is a patient keeping in touch with their family, a nurse’s ability to view a patient’s case file on a device, or enabling the quick transfer of information from doctor’s practice to specialist.
The phasing out DECT phones and pagers is underway which will increase dependence on mobile devices to deliver in-hospital and staff communication. Mobile phones are key devices in A&E control rooms and good, reliable mobile phone coverage is regarded as critical infrastructure to support A&E response teams.
A hindrance to good quality mobile signal in hospitals is often as a result of the building materials used during construction. Often, these materials significantly prevent or completely blocks mobile signal from penetrating through which leads to unreliable mobile signal inside. The size of some hospital buildings further exasperates these issues.
Whilst the NHS has rolled out an extensive Wi-Fi solution in more than 95% of all practices and properties, it has failed to solve the problem of poor mobile reception. Wi-Fi calling, where adopted, has been widely criticised as unreliable, and dropped calls or poor call quality when using mobile devices can have a significant impact in a hospital environment.
Some NHS Trusts with poor mobile reception have contacted the MNO’s to provide them with a solution but have found that the costs and timelines put forward to be a prohibiting factor to implement the alternative solutions.
Many NHS Trusts have turned to Cel-Fi products and Signalboosters to provide them with an indoor mobile coverage solution. Cel-Fi’s range of products are cost effective, legal and resolve the mobile signal issues within the timelines and to the scale required by customers.
Cel-Fi is the only OFCOM approved licence exempt solution available for addressing poor mobile signal coverage in the UK and Ireland. The products are designed to improve mobile signal strength for 3G and 4G and provide an exceptional coverage footprint. Cel-Fi products are mobile network approved and fully meets the regulatory requirements in the UK and Ireland.
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