An influx of tablets
Early in the COVID-19 crisis, a need for mobile communication devices emerged at Bordeaux University Hospital. Patients, particularly those transferred from hard-hit regions like eastern France, wanted to stay in touch with their loved ones. The hospital staff wanted an easy way to communicate remotely with patients, to avoid the need to take stringent hygienic precautions for each interaction. Donations of tablets quickly started pouring in. IT equipment manufacturers, foundations and local charities offered large numbers of devices to the hospital’s ICU, gerontology and general medicine departments serving COVID-19 patients and to the nursing homes located within the hospital. The hospital soon had over 150 tablets, in a wide range of models. The challenge: deploying them quickly and optimizing their use.
We had to provide Wi-Fi access inside the hospital without disrupting the essential applications needed by healthcare staff, and also secure the tablets so they could only be used inside the hospital, using techniques like blocking connections to other networks and activating geolocation.
Olivier Jecker, Technical Engineering Manager, Bordeaux University Hospital
A single configuration for controlled use
The hospital had already been working on setting up a cloud platform for easy deployment and management of applications on all types of mobile devices. To accelerate the project, it turned to the Orange Business Services teams, who configured the platform and the first tablets in just half a day, a project that would normally take several weeks. The first tablets, loaded with chat and videoconferencing apps, were distributed within 48 hours following the hospital’s request. “We opted for a single configuration to make it easy for patients and staff to learn to use them,” says Olivier Jecker, Technical Engineering Manager at Bordeaux University Hospital.
Tablets: an essential for hospitals in the future?
Close to 120 tablets have now been deployed, and the IT Systems and Digital Division (DSIN) can install new programs remotely. When patients are unable to communicate independently, as is the case in ICUs, healthcare providers schedule videoconferences with loved ones or doctors. A dedicated hotline is available to provide user assistance or reset the tablets when problems arise. “In the current situation, a lot of professionals are realizing how effective tablets are, and they’re thinking about ways to use them in the future,” notes Jecker. The hospital is also considering integrating all its healthcare workers’ mobile devices into its cloud platform to harmonize and simplify management, something it sees as a long-term investment.