Groves Memorial Community Hospital transforms the patient experience

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Updated:November 16, 2021

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Updated:November 16, 2021

Table of Contents



Groves Memorial Community Hospital is a valued institution in the rural community of Fergus, Ontario. When they needed to replace their aging infrastructure and improve security, they relied on Cisco technology—and Cisco partner EllisDon.

Executive Summary

Customer Name: Groves Memorial Community Hospital

Industry: Healthcare

Location: Fergus, Ontario

Number of Employees: 600


  Aging, unreliable network
  Multiple, disparate building systems
  Need to improve o verall security posture
  Alarm fatigue among employees



  Future-proofed hospital
  Renewed focus on patient care
  Improved patient safety and operational efficiency
  Better patient experiences and outcomes


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A community institution

Since 1902, Groves Memorial Community Hospital (GMCH) has been serving the rural community in Fergus, Ontario. The hospital plays an integral role in the Wellington Health Care Alliance (WHCA), providing a comprehensive range of surgical, inpatient, and outpatient services.

However, as the community has grown over the last few years, so has the demand on GMCH and its staff. The aging hospital’s infrastructure needed an upgrade, and ultimately a new facility was determined to be the best solution. After an extensive P3 (public-private partnership) process, Cisco partner EllisDon was brought on as the hospital’s technology and construction partner to support the digitization of business processes, improve clinical workflows for staff and—most importantly—support the delivery of better patient care.

The new future-proofed hospital opened to the public on August 9, 2020, featuring scalable and flexible technologies that will position GMCH as a leading healthcare provider in the region for the next 30 years and beyond.


“Cisco in my mind is best of breed in many categories. I can be assured that, if there’s a patch released, it has been tested across the entire platform and will just work.”

–Cam Yates, Vice President, Support Services & Chief Information Officer at GMCH


An unreliable network

In addition to the hospital’s aging physical infrastructure that needed to be replaced, GMCH also faced several technology challenges. Multiple disparate building systems had created additional operational overhead and an unreliable network. The hospital’s aging network infrastructure was also prone to outages, forcing staff to switch to paper-based downtime procedures. This led to additional administrative work, with staff having to backfill information into systems once they were back online— taking valuable time away from patients.

“Clinical and professional staff spent work hours focusing on unreliable equipment and tech downtime, versus what they're supposed to be focused on, which is patient care,” said Cam Yates, Vice President, Support Services & Chief Information Officer at GMCH.

The hospital was also running into another issue with employees—alarm fatigue. They needed a way to reduce the constant sound of alarms and noises throughout the hospital that were desensitizing staff to alerts. By reducing these constant sounds, nurse and clinician response times to medical emergencies could improve.

The final piece was security. The high value of patient data on the dark web, an increase in cyberattacks targeted at medical centers, and the explosion of medical and IoT devices in recent years have meant that hospitals are under attack. GMCH was looking to put new systems in place to improve its overall security posture, including physical and asset security, personal patient security, and data security.

With robust technology requirements set for GMCH 2.0, they needed a partner that could turn their vision into reality.

Integrating technology

The new hospital site provided an opportunity to significantly upgrade GMCH’s technology infrastructure. After a competitive procurement process, GMCH chose Cisco partner EllisDon and their EllisDon Energy & Digital Services (E&DS) team as their core building and technology partner.

The E&DS team acted as the master technology integrator, ensuring that all recommendations and design elements developed during pre-construction were appropriately procured, installed, and integrated. They deployed an intelligent Cisco infrastructure at the new hospital site that included Cisco switching, Wi-Fi, Call Manager, data center, and security solutions.

“Cisco in my mind is best of breed in many categories,” said Yates. “Having a consistent technology solution, from the perimeter to the end point, was valuable to have as an organization. I can be assured that, if there’s a patch released, it has been tested across the entire platform and will just work.”

GMCH is also the first hospital in the world to deploy EllisDon’s integratED next generation alarm and event management platform—running entirely on the new Cisco network.

Reclaiming valuable time

GMCH implemented Cisco technologies that are driving operational efficiencies, increasing patient safety, providing better patient outcomes, and delivering an overall improved patient experience.

Leveraging an intelligent Cisco network and computing infrastructure, patient safety at GMCH improved with real-time locating for incident detection. The hospital has also improved the patient experience with improved, secure guest Wi-Fi and vastly reduced network outages.

“As far as downtime is concerned, it has pretty much been eliminated, and everyone from physicians to administrative staff have been able to reclaim that time. No more paperwork,” said Yates.

IntegratED also brought together several disparate building systems at the hospital to create new operational efficiencies for clinical and support services staff. This reduced alarm fatigue and improved incident response time by providing easier, and faster, access to view and manage alarm situations on mobile devices.

And the new network infrastructure at Groves Memorial was built with Cisco security solutions at its core. Cisco Firepower Management Center and Zero Trust Network solutions provide extensive intelligence about users, applications, devices, threats, and vulnerabilities, allowing Yates and his team to prioritize which events to investigate and to tailor cybersecurity security policies as required.

“Cisco has really stepped up its game over the last number of years, especially on the cybersecurity perimeter side,” Yates said. “The visibility and control we have now is significantly better than before.”

Yates has three hospitals under his purview including GMCH, Louise Marshall, and Palmerston Hospitals. The two other local hospital sites are being refreshed and, when complete, will provide overall additional relief to the organization’s operating overhead and continue to improve their security posture.

“​​Once our three sites are complete, we will be in a position as an organization to support new products, technologies, and innovative services for years to come.”


“As far as downtime is concerned, it has pretty much been eliminated, and everyone from physicians to administrative staff have been able to reclaim that time. No more paperwork.”

–Cam Yates, Vice President, Support Services & Chief Information Officer at GMCH


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