Network switch and ethernet cables.

Health Grade Enterprise Network (HGEN)

The Health Grade Enterprise Network (HGEN) is a statewide initiative for the purchase and management of ICT infrastructure including wired and wireless network services.

HGEN uses the ICT Service Commissioning model to transform the way these services are provided and managed across NSW. Its focus is to deliver reliable, consistent and robust infrastructure to future-proof our hospitals.

IT replacing server components in a data centre

The Challenge

As the reliance on ICT in healthcare continues to grow, NSW Health must ensure that the foundational ICT infrastructure across hospitals and health services remains robust, resilient, and future-ready for hospitals to provide the best possible healthcare to the people of NSW.

The ability to have such access as and when needed, is essential to the provision of the ‘right care at the right time’.

Inconsistent wired and wireless infrastructure across NSW Health campuses has the potential to impact on critical clinical and corporate applications and services.

Many of NSW Health’s core ICT networks exceed our current needs while others are ageing and no longer meet expected standards. With changes in both government funding models and rapid advances in technology, eHealth NSW identified the need for a standardised statewide approach to improve service effectiveness and predictability as well as adapt to organisational change and new business requirements.

Patient access to the 'right care at the right time’ would only be possible with an innovative new approach.

Man replacing parts in a server room in a data centre

The Plan

Developed in partnership with a global IT service provider, Local Health Districts (LHDs) and NSW Health, eHealth NSW piloted HGEN at three separate sites over the past two years.

Westmead Health Precinct, Coffs Harbour Health Campus and 1 Reserve Rd, St Leonards have been home to the pilot projects, and featured both wireless and wired network infrastructure, in-building mobile coverage and passive infrastructure (i.e. supporting equipment).

The choice of locations has provided the opportunity to improve services across complex environments, with the Westmead Health Precinct covering multiple key sites.

The HGEN pilots aligned to NSW Health Standards with the chosen service provider delivering an end-to-end solution with responsibility for meeting service level agreements (SLAs).

We were keen to be part of this pilot to enhance our infrastructure. We knew it would improve the work environment for our staff as well as our patients and families experience.
Dr Theresa Beswick, Network Co-ordinator, Coffs Clinical Network General Manager
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Replacing server parts in a data centre

The Outcome

The pilots showed that moving to a HGEN has the potential to create value immediately for health organisations. HGEN increases performance, reduces expenditure and provides superior service resilience with increased flexibility, consistency and scalability.

An independent evaluation in December 2020, found that the pilots had delivered the forecast benefits and efficiencies outlined in the original business case.

In September 2021, eHealth NSW engaged the ICT industry to test the market for the roll-out of HGEN across NSW. The responses are currently being evaluated.

The pilot’s success means that HGEN will change the way ICT Wired and Wireless network infrastructure is funded, sourced, and managed within NSW Health’s hospitals and health services forever.

Mid adult male IT engineer checking computer server in datacenter

The Benefits

Some of the many benefits of the HGEN include:

  • Improved end-to-end network performance to the bedside for critical clinical systems (e.g. electronic medical record (eMR), radiology information system and picture archiving and communication (RISPACS), electronic record for intensive care (eRIC), electronic medication management (eMeds) etc) improving patient care
  • Infrastructure services delivered consistently across NSW Health and aligned to state-wide requirements
  • Reduced complexity in hospital Local Area Network (LAN) environments enabling faster integration and delivery for future systems
  • Supporting staff through improved Wi-Fi networks within health facilities
  • Service adapts to local and statewide requirement changes over time
  • Ease of working across different districts – predictable network for statewide project and roaming staff
  • Evergreen provisioning allows the services to be consumed based upon today’s requirement yet be updated and adapted for the future.

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