Dell Technologies’ Partnership to help Communications Onboard Hospital Ships

Whether in an office building finishing a sales report or on a state-of-the-art hospital ship providing lifesaving medical care to those in need, one thing is certain — technology is a vital part of our everyday life.

In order to serve thousands of patients every year onboard the Africa Mercy, our volunteers need efficient and up to date technology to perform their jobs effectively. From communicating with country leaders to keeping records of our patients going into surgery, our volunteers often find themselves working with computers and devices to ensure that our mission of bringing hope and healing is accomplished.

“It’s unusual out here to find the IT infrastructure you’d normally find in a larger city,” Chris Gregg, Chief Information Officer said. “The largest challenge we have, from an IT perspective, is maintaining simplicity amongst all of that complexity.”

Mercy Ships dedicated IS department works diligently to ensure that the volunteers onboard our hospital ships are able to perform their jobs efficiently. But thanks to our partnership with Dell Technologies, we are now able to streamline and simplify many of our IT needs, allowing us more time to focus on the patients we serve.

“The biggest turn around we saw immediately, was that we no longer have (major server related) issues, now it just works,” said Jonathan Dyson, Mercy Ships Director of Enterprise Infrastructure. “That gives us time to focus on new projects, new ideas, and new solutions and that directly impacts our doctors, surgeons, and nurses. Now they can rely on the technology and spend more time on their patients – more time on their patients is more lives transformed.”

The need for effective technology touches all aspects of the patient process. Screening teams utilize programs before the ship even arrives to find potential patients, using apps to help pre-screen medical ailments to ensure that their traveling to the screening process is not in vain. Once onboard technology continues to play a pivotal role as volunteer staff can utilize the connectivity that the internet provides to go even further in providing the best care for our patients, reaching out to professionals around the world in real-time.

While up to date technology is essential in a medical capacity onboard the Africa Mercy, Mercy Ships utilizes available tech in many other facets as well such as the safety management onboard the ship, our onboard K through 12th grade Academy, and the communications team who capture and share the amazing transformations patients undergo every field service.

“We’re not enterprise size but we’re enterprise complexity,” Dyson said. “With that brings a level of difficulty in figuring out, with a smaller staff, how we can support a wide range of industries onboard a ship… You know it’s a floating city and we’re trying to provide support for that from across the ocean.”

While IT simplicity is a vital part of making sure the Africa Mercy is able to perform at its best, it is becoming even more critical as we work to expand our fleet which will double our operations within the coming years.

“We’ve been looking at how to simplify our infrastructure so we can focus on the growth of the organization… and run our departments so that we can effectively serve the organization as we scale up,” Gregg said. “Having a modern infrastructure approach is really important… At the end of the day, a very universal thing to all of us is living well and having access to healthcare. It’s something we all identify with, no matter where you come from or what you believe.”