Boston Children’s is investing in 5G to scale greater network connectivity across its 3 million-square-foot facilities portfolio.

Image courtesy of Boston Children’s Hospital

Boston Children’s Hospital has begun the process of transforming its health care technology infrastructure through the implementation of a 5G hybrid network. This move is part of the organization’s information technology (IT) strategic plan.

“Contemporizing our technology platforms started with a new enterprise electronic health record (EHR), but as we defined the full scope of the project, we realized that we needed to redefine our clinical mobility strategy. Currently, [we use] a proprietary solution that is not scalable as we move forward with the new EHR,” explains Heather Nelson, senior vice president and chief information officer for Boston Children’s. “Relying on Wi-Fi for device mobility was no longer feasible and wasn’t going to meet the needs of our care team members going into the future.”

The hospital partnered with Pixel Health, health care IT consultants based in Holyoke, Mass., and T-Mobile to develop a private 5G cellular network. This network meets the demands of emerging clinical solutions that support mobile and agile workflows and helps drive the hospital’s virtual health and home care initiatives.

“Implementing the 5G cellular environment also involved our facilities and engineering teams. We wanted to ensure that devices could connect seamlessly, securely and consistently on any mobile device anywhere that clinical care is provided,” Nelson adds. 

That includes over 3 million square feet of patient rooms, hallways, operating rooms, stairwells, procedural areas and more.

“More than 3,000 iOS devices will be put into the hands of our nursing and care team members,” Nelson says. “Clinicians will have access at their very fingertips to the new EHR and clinical mobility platform.”

The hospital is gearing up to go live with the new network this spring, and Nelson says the organization continues to look to the future beyond this large-scale initiative, exploring the implementation of a private hybrid cloud infrastructure and planning for virtual desktop integration deployment. 

“The introduction of this innovative technology is raising the bar for how these platforms should be enabled in our sector,” Nelson says.