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China's first provincial emergency hospital was built in 1947 on the southern bank of the Pearl River. Modern and innovative, it quickly established itself as a trailblazer and is still considered a pioneer today, embracing successive waves of new Information and Communications Technology (ICT) innovations and becoming a forerunner for networked healthcare, also referred as Internet + healthcare. In March 2021, this hospital — the Guangdong Second Provincial General Hospital (GD2H) — collaborated with Huawei to build an all-scenario smart hospital, setting a new benchmark for the future of healthcare.
The cooperation began by upgrading and reconstructing the hospital network from the ground up. Huawei deployed its 5G-powered Healthcare Private Network Solution, building a next generation, wireless hospital network by deploying Wi-Fi 6, 5G, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Compared with traditional networks, Wi-Fi 6 and 5G deliver higher bandwidth, more stability, and lower latency. This means they support the concurrent access of more devices and systems, along with the smooth, real-time transmission of High Definition (HD) images, videos, and even Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) experiences, along with 3D images. With such enhanced reliability, network signals are also much less likely to be interrupted when users are moving around inside the hospital, allowing doctors and nurses to deal with fast-paced emergencies without having to worry whether the network will be able to keep up.
New advances bring new opportunities. And with the reconstruction of the hospital's underlying network, there was an opportunity to innovate smart medical services, for example, upgrading to smart wards.
In a nurse station with a smart healthcare solution on-hand, the nurse on duty simply checks up on inpatients remotely on two large screens, constantly issuing orders and alerts to other staff, play-by-play and in real time.
Previously, when handing over shifts, medical staff had to check the status of patients on two whiteboards. Now, these twin electronic screens display the basic information of each patient, as well as any medical advice, examination reports, and all vital signs — again, displaying this information in real time. And when a reading falls outside ordinary parameters, the system automatically generates an alarm. This frees medical staff, who no longer have to go to multiple wards to check each patient's stability, or switch between multiple systems to query doctors' notes and check reports. In short, they no longer need to worry about leaving anything unattended, because nobody is ever unattended — all thanks to ICT.
In this smart ward, multiple applications and systems operate around the clock, side-by-side. Huawei's solution uses AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 and 5G to provide ample network resources for the transmission and processing of massive amounts of data.
Beyond the hospital, too, a 5G network enables ambulances to transmit patient medical records and Computed Tomography (CT) images to the hospital in real time. Paramedics no longer have to waste time handing over documents, focusing on the patient instead. Further afield, doctors in rural areas can transmit patient files, such as the results of Electrocardiograms (ECGs) and blood sugar data, to bigger hospitals such as GD2H instantaneously, giving people access to more advanced and specialized medical resources without having to travel long distances.
GD2H has a highly complicated set of networks, as you might expect. Over time, it built up multiple operation management systems — for physical assets, water and electricity, firefighting, and more — as well as a full range of medical service systems, including a Hospital Information System (HIS) and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and consumables systems. Since each system was developed independently at different times, data and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) were independent of each other, too, resulting in repeat data processing and storage, with understandably high O&M and expansion costs. And the end result? Network simplification became an essential component of hospital network reconstruction.
Now, the Huawei Smart Hospital Converged Network Solution physically isolates but logically connects the hospital's intranet, extranet, videoconferencing, IoT, and intelligent private networks, in turn fully connecting all medical data. In addition, wireless and IoT convergence, wired and wireless convergence, and network security convergence have all been implemented to streamline data channels and form a single network covering the entire hospital, achieving much-needed network simplification.
Based on network convergence, GD2H's Intelligent Operation Center (IOC) aggregates the data of the hospital operation management, medical service, and research systems, visualizing five modules: the overall situation, medical operations, security, fire safety, and energy consumption.
In the medical operations module, for example, management staff have access to visualized information covering personnel structure, performance targets, the number of patients, and the outpatient registration trend of each department. This allows precise adjustments to staffing to be made, based on real data insights. Elsewhere, in the security module, the video security system automatically identifies a person who appears far too regularly and is behaving strangely, marking them as a potential risk and sounding the alarm.
In short, the IOC streamlines system data, implements the unified management of people, events, and objects across the hospital's campus, and displays it all on one screen. Behind the scenes, of course, a small data center and cutting-edge ICT lay the digital foundation that supports this work.
Huawei OceanStor hybrid flash storage arrays help core service systems such as HIS and Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) run smoothly, even during peak hours. With modular prefabrication slashing data center construction times by 50%, smart modules maximize the use of natural cooling sources, reducing energy consumption by 17% and water by 40%. Huawei's iMaster NCE — a platform for network automation and intelligence — displays network health status in real time. Once a network fault occurs, the platform automatically locates the fault within seconds and provides troubleshooting suggestions.
Thanks to Wi-Fi 6 and 5G networks, 5G emergency care and telemedicine are also emerging fields. And network convergence maximizes data sharing among hospital systems, achieving simple yet intelligent O&M.
Benefiting from next generation network connections, GD2H is using ICT to improve access to medical care and resources, reduce the burden on medical staff, and refine hospital operations. And through such digital advancements, the hospital and Huawei are together building a new foundation for the hospitals of the future.