The NHS in Cornwall has launched a £12.5m high-speed network linking hospitals, medical centres and GP surgeries across the county.
The Cornwall Community of Interest Network (Coin), which connects nearly 200 sites, is the result of a five-year project carried out with BT.
It uses the N3 broadband network being provided to the NHS by BT under the National Programme for IT (NPfIT), to create a discrete network for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly NHS.
The Coin project is part-funded by Connecting for Health, which runs NPfIT, and will give NHS staff across Cornwall real-time access to information systems and high-speed data transfer.
Simon Goodwin, director of Cornwall NHS IT services, said: “One of the key objectives of the ‘Healthy Futures’ strategy for Cornwall is to provide high quality health services as close to the patients’ homes as possible.
“This new high-speed and robust network is a key underpinning technology in helping the NHS overcome some of the challenges posed by the rural and remote nature of the county to deliver this strategy.”
Because of its difficult geography and remote locations such as the Isles of Scilly, the local NHS is increasing the use of “telecare” – healthcare that is remotely delivered to patients in their own homes.
The new network, harnessed with telemedicine and telecare, would “allow clinicians to virtually go to the patient rather than the patient coming to the clinician”, Goodwin said.
Coin would also support implementation of other NPfIT systems in Cornwall, he added.