Healthcare gets mobile

Dubai’s Department of Health and Medical Services (DOHMS) is deploying a massive internet protocol (IP) telephony network across its operations, to help drive down its operating costs and improve the range of services it offers.

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By  Chris Whyatt Published  November 27, 2005

Dubai’s Department of Health and Medical Services (DOHMS) is deploying a massive internet protocol (IP) telephony network across its operations, to help drive down its operating costs and improve the range of services it offers. DOHMS, the biggest healthcare provider in Dubai with mo- re than 20 health centres and five hospitals, has high hopes for the enterprise-size communication solution. Mahmood Al Saeed, head of telecommunication unit for DOHMS, told IT Weekly that by 2007 it aims to have replaced all existing legacy systems with Avaya’s IP telephony network. It will establish a central contact centre, serving a workforce of over 5,000 employees, and implement a raft of mobility and wireless solutions to ensure th- ey can communicate across locations and on the move, according to Al Saeed. Additionally, videoconferencing is to become a vital communication tool for its doctors and DOHMS will create home-based jobs using IP. “This will all vastly increase the efficiency of our operations,” said Al Saeed. “Eventually we will replace all legacy systems with Avaya’s IP telephony network, and this will serve over 5,000 users — our doctors, nurses, care staff, and administrators,” he went on to state. Implemented by eCompany, Etisalat’s ICT business unit, work is already underway on phase one for deployments at the Satwa Centre and the Trauma Centre, both new healthcare units. Those networks will be in place by January, and phase two — full extension of the IP network — begins immediately after. A host of Avaya products are being implemented, including the Avaya Media Server (with Communication Manager Call Centre software), Avaya Media Gateway, Avaya Call Management Systems, an Avaya-hosted unified messaging solution — and Avaya IP agent, a PC-based softphone application. “Softphone will really help doctors and administrators have constant contact with DOHMS. You can call from any (PC or laptop) extension,” said Al Saeed. “We will also use it to create home-based jobs, so it will definitely improve our productivity,” he added. He also said DOHMS plans to use an Avaya fixed mobile convergence application — downloadable onto Nokia phones — to give its mobile workers a virtual desktop phone. Avaya claims many hospital administrators are turning to its centralised, IP-based speech applications to resolve problems quickly and make a positive impact on patient care. “As healthcare costs across the region continue to rise, hospitals across the Middle East are seeking new ways to reduce expenses while delivering improved patient care,” said Nidal Abou-Ltaif, managing director for Avaya Middle East. “Healthcare is an information intensive field, which requires a communications infrastructure of the highest standard. Such an infrastructure could literally make the difference between life and death, ”he added.

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