News Release

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance to Deploy IP Communications System to Improve Workforce Efficiency and Patient Care

Bell Canada to implement converged voice, video and data network from Cisco Systems
Oct 02, 2002

CHATHAM, ON - October 2, 2002 - Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) is taking advantage of next-generation network technology from Bell Canada and Cisco Systems to power advanced voice and data services over an Internet Protocol (IP) network. CKHA will be one of the first hospitals in Canada to feature an IP Communications system to deliver voice, video and data over an IP network.

According to CKHA, running voice, video and data over a single IP network will allow the organization to manage costs and provide employees with an exciting range of healthcare applications that will improve the quality of medical care and streamline internal efficiencies. Bell Canada will implement and manage the network infrastructure, which is based on the Cisco Architecture for Voice, Video and Integrated Data (Cisco AVVID).

"Chatham-Kent Health Alliance is dedicated to providing state-of-the-art healthcare into the next century - and our advanced new network infrastructure will play a key role in achieving our goal," said Jerome Quenneville, Vice President, Finance and Corporate Services at Chatham-Kent Health Alliance. "A huge component of the quality of care we deliver to patients is based on access to information. Our vision is to be able to use our high-speed network to expedite patient information to medical staff more quickly and efficiently across all three hospitals."

CKHA is investigating a number of innovative IP communications solutions, including: utilizing Cisco SoftPhone technology to enable a truly mobile workforce; deploying IP Video Conferencing to power telehealth services and bedside video; and integrating voice recognition technology for medical practitioners.

"We are excited by the powerful range of converged voice, video and data applications our network enables," said Quenneville. "For example, we will soon be implementing a sophisticated new Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) that will run off our Cisco AVVID infrastructure. The new system will be more functional and we will avoid the cost of having to establish a separate, dedicated network."

CKHA - a partnership between Public General Hospital and St. Joseph's Hospital in Chatham and Sydenham District Hospital in Wallaceburg, Ontario - is currently undertaking a major renovation to consolidate both Chatham hospitals at a single site. The shared site will feature a new wing with 140,000 square feet of space and 80 per cent of the existing 200,000 square feet will be affected by the renovation.

IP vision for the future

CKHA has already completed a successful IP telephony pilot project and will begin to install IP phones in its new wing in early 2003. The new wing will have a total of 380 Cisco IP phones, with 200 to be installed during the first phase of renovation. IP telephony will be deployed across the remainder of the hospital as renovations occur. CKHA plans to transition all phones to IP telephony.

IP telephony will integrate seamlessly with CKHA's traditional - or private branch exchange (PBX) - telephone system. This will allow CKHA to migrate from its current PBX system to IP telephony over time, while maintaining a single, consistent telephone identity.

"Bell Canada is committed to providing converged IP solutions that deliver increased value to our customers and offer them more communications options," said Renato Discenza, Senior Vice-President, Bell Canada. "We're working with leading-edge institutions such as Chatham-Kent Health Alliance to help them take advantage of the Internet and advanced network technologies to improve productivity while maintaining high network reliability."

"Today's healthcare institutions are under enormous pressure to improve the quality of care, while reducing the cost of medical treatment," said Brent Rebus, Vice-President, Canadian Enterprise and Small and Medium Business Operations at Cisco Systems Canada. "The convergence of voice, video and data onto a single IP infrastructure reduces total cost of ownership, while enabling an exciting range of productivity tools. From IP telephony, IP video conferencing and wireless connectivity, to e-learning and telemedicine, IP communications have the potential to drive enormous change in the healthcare industry."

About Chatham-Kent Health Alliance

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance is a partnership between Public General Hospital (PGH) and St. Joseph's Hospital (SJH) in Chatham and Sydenham District Hospital (SDH) in Wallaceburg, Ontario. This partnership brings together the strengths of each hospital to ensure the continuation of quality, close-to-home, medical care through a process which will consolidate services and reduce duplication.

Together, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance serves the medical needs of 110,000 people in the municipality of Chatham-Kent, South Lambton and Walpole Island. Its staff of 1,300 care for over 173,000 inpatients, outpatients and emergency patients annually. CKHA is the third largest employer in the area and generates over $70 million in wages into the local economy. For more information, visit

About Bell Canada

Bell Canada, Canada's national leader for communications in the Internet world, provides connectivity to residential and business customers through wired and wireless voice and data communications, high speed and wireless Internet access, IP-broadband services, e-business solutions, local and long distance phone and directory services. Bell Canada is owned by BCE Inc. of Montreal. For more information please visit

About Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. News and information are available at

About Cisco Systems Canada

Cisco Systems Canada Co. has offices across Canada dedicated to customer support, sales, and service. In addition, Cisco Systems has a significant research and development centre in Ottawa, Ontario.

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Press Contacts:

Jerome A. Quenneville
Chatham-Kent Health Alliance

Willa Black
Cisco Systems Canada
Pager: 1-800-68-CISCO

Catherine Hudon
Bell Canada

Gareth Pettigrew
Strategic/Ampersand (for Cisco)
416-961-5595 ext. 428