Marie Curie Case Study

Requirement: Connectivity

Palliative care charity Marie Curie required enhanced Wi-Fi to support the roll out of Electronic Patient Records systems. It selected leading Converged ICT Services Provider GCI to deliver the solution.

The Client

Marie Curie is the leading charity in providing care to people with any terminal illness, including dementia, cancer, Motor Neurone Disease, heart failure and Parkinson's disease. It offers hands-on care, emotional support and therapies to people living with a terminal illness and their families, both in their own homes and in the charity’s nine hospices. The charity has over 4,000 permanent staff and 10,000 volunteers, and is also the largest provider of hospice beds outside of the NHS. It typically cares for nearly 8,000 people within their hospices, more than 33,000 patients in their own homes, and provides support to over 1,000 people though its “Helper” service each year.

Marie Curie is undertaking significant improvements to its IT services. A major challenge the charity faced was the lack of bedside connectivity, meaning it could not use mobile PCs to support day-to-day care and was still using paper-based systems. The lack of connectivity was also impacting on its patients’ care experience. For example, at many sites patients were unable to access Internet services such as Facebook or BBC iPlayer, or use Skype to keep in touch with family and friends during this critical period in their lives. Marie Curie recognises that access to these services makes a big difference to patients’ wellbeing and wanted to address the situation, with a key part of its IT transformation strategy being fast, business-grade Wi-Fi to its “tier one” sites, which included its head office and its nine hospices. When Marie Curie decided that it also required a Managed Services partner to support their Wi-Fi and LAN services, it turned to GCI to take on the project. With its Head of IT having previously engaged with GCI, the charity was confident that the leading Converged ICT Services Provider had the expertise to take on the complexities of the challenge.

Technical Solution

Using industrial-grade Wi-Fi access points from Aruba Networks, GCI installed Wi-Fi at all of Marie Curie’s nine hospices, its London headquarters and at three of its regional administrative sites. Ensuring that all rooms and wards within each site would have strong connectivity meant that, on average, 15 access points were installed in each building. This meant that all patients’ medications and treatments could be updated via the PCs in each ward which negated the need for pen and paper, as well as ensuring a more accurate and secure system of logging medical information going forward. Additionally, much of Marie Curie’s workforce spends time out of the office supporting nationwide care and fundraising operations. Therefore, their computing experience needed to be seamless when visiting Marie Curie’s offices, with the new robust Wi-Fi connectivity a key component of this. Marie Curie’s increased connectivity also allows patients to consume internet-based entertainment services, social media and communication tools such as Skype and WhatsApp. 

Success and Company Benefits

Marie Curie now has fast, robust connectivity that can support the needs of mobile and office-based staff, vastly reducing the need to use paper to record patients’ treatment and medication details and thus improving confidentiality. Patients’ experiences have also improved as they can now easily stay in touch with their loved ones and stream BBC iPlayer, YouTube, or other internet-based video services. GCI carefully managed the project from start to finish, and now provides the charity with ongoing support for its Local Area Network.

Ivan Delany, Head of IT at Marie Curie, said: “GCI really delivered when we needed it. Our overall project - particularly the electronic patient record (EPR) system - was in danger of falling behind because we didn’t have the connectivity we needed. GCI had to execute their strategy quickly and at the right price, but they had the experience and expertise for the challenge. They delivered the project successfully and GCI now manages our entire LAN."

“Simply put, the Wi-Fi just “works”, and we get few support calls. Reliable connectivity underpins every part of our IT services – both for our own use internally and for that of our patients. Having a reliable partner in GCI is key to this ongoing success.”



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