Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Felix catches Cisco network for hospital digitisation

Steve Rogerson
January 16, 2018



Felix Platter Hospital in Basel, Switzerland, is deploying Cisco intent-based networking to create the foundation for the hospital’s digital operation. The secure network was designed and is being deployed by Itris Enterprise, a Cisco partner in Switzerland, and is expected to be fully operational by the end of this year.
 
The hospital is one of the leading Swiss university centres for the medicine of aging and rehabilitation. With 320 hospital beds and 700 staff, it is dedicated to research projects and serves as a teaching hospital for geriatric medicine.
 
The network will power several applications used by doctors, nurses, patients and hospital operations, including the hospital information system and asset tracking for medical equipment. The building’s automation system, voice and video communications, including mobile devices, and the patient entertainment system will also run on the same network, thus saving costs for implementation and management.
 
“Digitising our hospital on all levels from healthcare systems to patient-facing services, collaboration tools for our staff, and building management is a major undertaking and a unique professional challenge,” said Laurent Wagner, CIO of Felix Platter Hospital. “We were looking for a solution where end-to-end security is embedded into the network. Total cost of ownership and the possibility to manage mobile devices as an integrated part of the network played an important role in our decision, as did the quality of the offer, the references, and the professionalism of the Cisco and Itris teams.”
 
The Cisco DNA digital network architecture provides the hospital with a portfolio of hardware and software designed to work together as a single, integrated system. It brings many benefits to the IT team, ranging from simplified management to automation, segmentation and integrated security.
 
At the heart of the network is the DNA centre, a centralised management dashboard providing IT teams with the ability to translate business intent into IT policy. With full visibility and contextual insight across the entire network, the centre lets the IT department centralise management of all network functions.
 
Software-defined access is another primary element. It uses automated policy enforcement and network segmentation over a single network fabric to simplify network access for users, devices and things. By automating day-to-day tasks such as configuration, provisioning and troubleshooting, it improves issue resolution from weeks and months to hours and reduces possible security breach effects.
 
Integration with Cisco ACI functionality in the data centre will allow the IT team to put applications front and centre and to provision network services faster.
 
The architecture has been designed with cyber security in mind. This will help enable the hospital to prevent attacks and have the right tools in place before, during and after attacks. The hospital’s IT team will use Cisco ISE identity services engine and NAC network admission control to manage the wireless network and to create and manage user and asset profiles.
 
Additional elements of the security architecture will include a firewall with malware protection and Cisco Umbrella, a secure internet gateway that provides a first line of defence to protect employees both on and off the corporate network.
 
“Healthcare is one of the sectors in which digitisation has been top of mind for quite some time,” said Christian Martin, general manager for Cisco in Switzerland. “Yet we are still only seeing the early days of truly digital healthcare, with the rise of electronic patient records alongside connected devices and applications such as health monitors, medicine dispensers and first responder connectivity. Being at the forefront of innovative research, Felix Platter Hospital realised the need for a sound foundation with an intuitive network that embeds security into the network rather than bolting it on.”