Four Counties Health Services, a southwestern Ontario health-care facility has deployed a $56,000 wireless network that it says will help it reduce its paper use by 75 per cent and recruit and retain physicians.Mississauga, Ont.-based NexInnovations installed access points, a wireless local area network (LAN) and main routing and management facilities from Cisco Systems Inc. to a new family practice clinic operated by FCHS, based in Newbury, Ont.
Serving 23,000 people in Middlesex, Elgin, Chatham-Kent and Lambton counties, Newbury, Ont.-based FCHS provides emergency care, diagnostic services, rehabilitation and outpatient care services.
With the new wireless infrastructure, which was implemented at the clinic’s site in January, clinicians are now able to chart all of their patients electronically on their Tablet PCs and have remote access to the hospital information system from anywhere in the building. In addition to using electronic medical records and lab results, the wireless network will also help eliminate film by using electronic X-rays.
“We were able to leverage the implementation of that system to cover the entire hospital,” said Sarah Padfield, site manager at FCHS.
Federal government programs such as Canada Health Infoway, whose mandate is to create a nationwide electronic health-care record, are driving projects like this in the health-care sector.
Todd Irie, director of sales at NexInnovations, said centralization is key for a rural hospital like FCHS to service its patients in an economical fashion.
Aside from the benefits for clinicians, adding new technology to the site is a boon for the hospital’s recruitment strategy, Padfield said. Rural hospitals such as FCHS are experiencing a doctor shortage as many of them don’t feel these hospitals can provide the same level of collaboration and support as larger hospital networks.
As a member of the Thames Valley Hospital Partnership, FCHS has to follow a set of protocols set out and agreed upon by the eight hospitals in the Thames Valley region, including London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s.

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