Vanderbilt U and Med Center Expand Wireless Network with Sprint and Nextel

Vanderbilt University and Medical Center (VUMC) will be upgrading its wireless connectivity on campus with the help of Sprint, a long-time provider of wireless services to the school. Sprint will expand the existing system, including additional network coverage on both the Nationwide Sprint Network and the Nextel National Network covering eight buildings.

In 2004, Sprint installed an in-building system throughout the medical center at the university, including four CDMA and two iDEN towers on campus, a Sprint retail location on-site, and a dedicated account sales and support team housed on the campus. Advancements in technology, infrastructure modifications, and upgrades at Vanderbilt increased the demand for additional network capability on the campus.

The Vanderbilt Office of Emergency Communications (Flight Com), which operates much like a 911 dispatch center, will use Nextel handsets to dispatch and maintain two-way communications with internally tiered emergency response teams within the medical center. Those teams include trauma, STAT, RRT, and paramedics.

"The Nextel Direct Connect functionality allows dispatchers to simultaneously dispatch large groups of responders and support staff," said Jeff Gray, communications manager for Vanderbilt LifeFlight and the office of Emergency Communications. "Previously all dispatch to these teams was done by pager. Responders now have reliable two-way communications with dispatch that allows for additional directions or resources."

Employees and staff will also have access to Sprint Integrated Office, a solution used in both the hospital and other areas of the university. For example, within a hospital setting this solution is used to contact a nurse on duty. It allows the call to roll over from one nurse to another in case no one answers. The last call number in the group terminates to a desk phone, ensuring no call goes unanswered and unattended.

Montclair University in New Jersey is also a Sprint and Nextel network customer.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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