Working on a major and vital clinical and healthcare informatics project for Kuwait can and is challenging and demanding. It is hectic and messy at times, but it’s all good fun and great experience.

Having to deal with Network design/re-engineering is one heck of a task I must admit, but when there’s a will, there’s a way 🙂 Having said that, what we do may not be the optimal solution, but it will get us by until the end of the day and to drive home a point that it can be done.

We were faced with a problem trying to connect PCs at a hospital to our software hosted at our institute where we had a gateway and a private tunnel to our H.Q. While users enjoyed access to the “WWW” on a separate network in the hospital and wanted to get onto our network, it was challenging, but the solution was to add static routes on two different interfaces (ethernet for our application and wLAN for Internet access) and so far so good!

Let’s see how sustainable that is!

  1. We can look at this issue from two aspects.
    First is from our (me & you) percpective as techical people. We enjoy this because we are learning from new experience.
    Second, is patients, patient safety, and quality of service which is not totaly in our hand today. The later is the one who is suffering alot.

    This networking spaghetti is due to network managment issue. As you know, most of hospitals and medical centers in MOH Kuwait have no IT team. Thus, every Info. systems has it’s own network where each network is done by the System’s vendor. Vendors do not care if they are following standard network configuration or doing networking best practices.
    For example, RIS/PACS server is using NASA’s IP range which makes the server under attack if connected to the internet (IP is .. another example is using mini hubs every wehre for unplanned network expansion. Remember! some of these systems are in ICU, CCU .. where life support machines intercommunicates.

    In fact, these systems start isolated but eventually end up mixed like a Spaghetti when people realize that we need to integrated different systems in the hospital or when they need to inter-connected different networks on different hospitals. A good two exmaples of this is Chest hospital and KCCC/Faisal Center. Each of later centers have multiple networks. Faisal Center itself has at least three networks (physical & logical) .. and the three are connected to other hospitals seperately and interconnected together by themselves. Can you imagine the sphagiti ?! This reminds me with the cotton candy !

    Solution is one owner .. Network should be owned by one entity. Either local to the hospital or outsourced to one IT contractor .. Make sure that this contractor is not a medical equipment vendor .. Remember: we by bread from the bakery not from the fish market place !

    Thank you for bringing this topic .. keep going.

  2. great read my friend.
    I’m in the Healthcare IT sector as well here in Kuwait. I’m very much interested in knowing which hospital are you talking about here? and which you say “our institute” which institute is this? 🙂 I’m quite curious because i’m in the middle of a Kuwaiti version of healthcare IT war at the moment, and I would love to know what’s going on with people like myself in other places in the country.

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