healthAlliance delivers free Wi-Fi for Northern Region DHBs

Patients and visitors at the four Northern Region District Health Boards now have access to free Wi-Fi.

Northern Region DHB shared services provider healthAlliance has enabled the free service after rolling out more than 2,200 Cisco Wireless Access Points and other network components into clinical and visitor areas at the four DHBs over the past few years.

“Some of the issues patients and visitors traditionally face in hospitals are boredom and being unable to continue with their personal or business commitments,” healthAlliance CIO Kevin Robinson says.

“Wi-Fi is one way we are able to help with this to make their hospital stay or visit a little more pleasurable.”

“Being able to connect to Wi-Fi on their own devices to keep in touch with family and friends on social media, messaging apps, email and other online channels or just for entertainment purposes can be a big boost to morale when you are in hospital,” he says.

Called Hospital Hotspot, the free Wi-Fi service is now available at most hospital and clinical sites across the Auckland metro DHBs: Counties Manukau Health, Auckland DHB and Waitemata DHB, as well as Northland DHB.

The patient and visitor wireless network is separate to the internal DHB Wi-Fi network, so there is no risk of public access to confidential patient information.

Counties Manukau Health Director of Strategic ICT Transformation Sarah Thirlwall says it is a fantastic service to offer people at her DHB.

“It’s exciting to be able to provide patients and visitors free access to Wi-Fi. Being able to connect online with friends and whanau on their smart phones or other devices is really important for people in our community and it helps provide a better experience for patients and family alike.” 

Sarah says business owners or self-employed people can keep on top of work commitments if they need to while they are laid up in hospital.

“Others really like the fact they are able to manage their household bills on line, which can help reduce anxiety a little.”

Kevin Robinson says: “Free Wi-Fi has been high on the list of our customers’ priorities for some time so it’s great to see the new service delivered and working well.”

The free Wi-Fi service was made available by the healthAlliance IT team after months of preparation work in partnership with DHB management.

The network has sophisticated content filtering technology which can block certain websites.

At peak times during the day up to 3200 people connect to the service across the Northern Region DHBs.

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