Infrastructure injection gives MK University Hospital a clean bill of digital health

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Two Milton Keynes companies, both MKBLP members have pulled together to transform the IT services at Milton Keynes University Hospital (MKUH) which is now running at ground breaking speeds of five Gigabytes per second (Gbps).

This has all been made possible thanks to a future proofing digital transformation delivered by CityFibre and local ISP, Boxx Communications.

MKUH approached CityFibre and Boxx about joining Milton Keynes’ citywide full fibre network in late 2019 after its legacy network became too slow and unreliable to support important hospital activities like admin and staff training, as well as planned IT system upgrades.

Now, with its own full fibre connection and broadband services, MKUH’s patients, 100 plus departments and 5,500 staff have the infrastructure and connectivity they need to enjoy efficient and seamless access to systems and hospital-wide Wi-Fi. Crucially, the platform will also make it possible for the hospital to adopt new digital tools that can transform services for all.

Speaking of the transformation, which was delivered by CityFibre and Boxx in just over a month, Ollie Chandler, Head of IT Infrastructure at MKUH, said: “Data is required by everyone and in all places in a hospital environment, and accessing this data quickly and easily in a safe and reliable manner is essential. Thanks to CityFibre and Boxx, we have been able to improve the way our staff work and the care they can offer to the people of Milton Keynes.

“For example, Colleagues can now access a plethora of online tools to learn, collaborate and share with fellow hospital staff and surrounding health and care organisations. This helps to ensure vital patient information, up-to-date guidance and polices, and best practice are instantly and securely shared, which hugely benefits patient care.”

With around 550 beds and a team of 5,000 people working at the hospital, MKUH sees and treats approximately 400,000 patients each year from across parts of Northamptonshire, Buckingham and Leighton Buzzard as well as Milton Keynes. This means it is increasingly imperative that the hospital’s network can match the pace of demand for services – especially as digital technology and software solutions become increasingly embedded into the hospital’s operation and management.         

Ollie explained: “Access to this infrastructure and service also means that we can now offer patients access to hospital services from the comfort of their own home, such as virtual clinics and video consultations, where it’s clinically appropriate. This is a massive step forward in improving access to care, and, of course, it has proven invaluable in keeping patients safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

CityFibre, the UK’s third national infrastructure platform, is currently delivering the roll out of Milton Keyne’s city-wide full fibre network as part of its £4billion Gigabit City Investment Programme. In the city itself, it is investing £40 million in ensuring practically every home, business and public service has access to high capacity, gigabit capable connectivity that will future proof the city’s digital capabilities for decades to come.

Jean Gowin, CityFibre’s City Manager for Milton Keynes, commented: “It is stories like this that really bring to life the immense value digital connectivity now plays in our lives. Nothing is more important than our health and wellbeing, and digital technology can help to streamline service delivery, ensure the right people have access to the right data at the right time to improve outcomes and even provide new models of care delivery.

“Our mission is all about driving digital transformation, fuelling growth, and ensuring no part of our Gigabit community is left behind. It’s also about supporting our data needs now and going forward. Through our ‘build once, build right’ approach, our infrastructure is also capable of supporting future demand – up to 10 Gbps services and beyond - which services like MKUH may need in the not too distant future as innovations in digital health and telemedicine continue to flourish.”

Dean Burgin, co-owner at Boxx Communications, added: "Working with MKUH has been an exciting project for Boxx. We're all about Milton Keynes, and as CityFibre's flagship city, all three parties involved had significant motivation to get the Hospital connected.

“We typically have more time to deliver a project like this but after being called in at the last minute, after others had failed, the timescales were more than ambitious. But by working collaboratively, we delivered the connection in time ensuring MKUH’s broader digital migration plans weren't delayed.  We demonstrated where, as a value-adding reseller, Boxx can fit into an organisation’s procurement strategy. We pride ourselves on bringing experience and expertise to enhance even the most established and highly qualified IT departments.

“It's impressive to see how far ahead the IT department at MKUH are, and being local ourselves, it gives us confidence knowing the infrastructure behind it is world-class.”