IT for Haiti

By : |April 11, 2010 0

DEERFIELD, US: Meridian IT Inc., a Meridian Group International, Inc. company, and the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) are working together to provide IT services in support of the UCMC medical teams that have been in Haiti since a catastrophic earthquake struck the impoverished country in late January.

Meridian IT Inc., a Cisco Gold Certified Partner, is providing Cisco networking gear for UCMC at the Fond Parisien Field Hospital in Haiti, including outdoor wireless bridges, switches, and routers, according to Michael Sorensen, Executive Director and CTO at UCMC.

“In the initial days after the earthquake, our goal was to get the basics, like medicine, food and shelter down to the teams on the ground in Haiti,” said Sorensen. “Following the initial deployment and with the help of Cisco and Meridian IT, we were able to quickly identify the unique challenges on the ground and secure and deliver the technical equipment that the medical staff needed to make communications at the field hospital much more effective.”

As per a press release, Meridian IT and Cisco donated five Cisco BR1410 outdoor wireless bridges and four Cisco SLM2008 Switches. UCMC already had several WRE54G and WRT120N Linksys routers that it provided to support the field hospital, which treated more than 1,000 patients in the first six weeks since the earthquake hit. More than 100 clinical staff and volunteers are using the networking gear to communicate within the field hospital, with UCMC, and even with their family and friends back home through the use of a donated satellite system. “Meridian IT secured the equipment for us in less than 72 hours and helped us configure it for quick deployment in the rugged elements down there,” said Tony Rubino, Director of Network Services for UCMC.

“Once the field hospital was hooked up, our medical teams were quickly able to start doing basic things like spreadsheets and Google documents. Then, we extended the network throughout the camp, so the clinicians and staff within the field hospital could begin to electronically document patient medical records, track medication dispensing from the pharmacy and collect an inventory of the supplies. Setting up the field network and providing basic computer services was a significant asset to improve the overall efficiency, operations and patient care. We’re grateful for the donations and services provided by Meridian,” said Sorensen.

Meridian IT has worked with UCMC since 2007, said Greg Ciesla, Meridian IT’s UCMC Account Manager, and jumped at the chance to donate its services and equipment for such an important need. With little IT support on the ground in Haiti, one of the biggest challenges was configuring the equipment so nurses and doctors on the ground in Haiti could quickly plug it in, make it work, and even troubleshoot any issues that came up.

“We’re at UCMC at least twice a week, and we have engineers there in support all of the time,” said Meridian IT’s Ciesla. “Having that familiarity with a quality IT department within UCMC is critical in situations like the Haiti earthquake, where as technologists we truly have the opportunity to use the power of the network to help people in dire need.”


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