Helping the medical team at VCU

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Success Story


VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (CHM)
• South Hill, Virginia
• Community owned
• 150 doctors, staff, and executives

Needed consistent cellular coverage for staff members throughout areas of an older hospital building.

CEL-FI eliminated the coverage gaps and enabled uninterrupted communications.

• Fast and easy installation
• Reliable wireless communications for practitioners and other staff members
• Improved staff morale

“When you find a good product like CEL-FI, it’s a wonderful thing”

-Eric Williams, CHM Communications Coordinator


VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (CMH) based in South Hill, Virginia is a community owned hospital servicing the south-central region of Virginia and portions of North Carolina. The hospital distributes 150 cell phones to doctors, staff, and executives to enable critical communications.

When Eric Williams, Communications Coordinator joined CMH, he discovered that there had been consistent complaints about cellular coverage gaps in a number of areas within the hospital. “It seems it was an ongoing problem. There’s a lot of concrete and metal and there were a number of construction changes over the years leaving us with a lot of dead spaces.”

An added challenge was that operating rooms and radiation rooms had insulated walls that blocked signals. While the hospital had some femto cells in the building, Williams says they didn’t address the coverage problem. “In addition, each device required registration, but only allowed for 10 phone numbers on each, so some phones would get a signal but others wouldn’t. They also required a wired antenna.”

A bigger problem was locating those units, he adds. “There was no record of where they were installed. Some were in the ceiling, others in closets. It took a lot of time to find them.”

One of Williams’ first jobs was to conduct a walk through of the building with a nurse practitioner to assess the problem. “I was holding my cell phone in front of me and actually seeing where signals weren’t coming through and found the dead areas one by one.”

Dead zones were more than just an inconvenience, he says. “When it comes to patient care, immediate communications are critical. Doctors for example do a lot of dictation and file transfers, as well as conferring with other practitioners on their wireless devices. Those records can’t get lost or dropped. And they certainly don’t have time to walk around to find people or a desk phone.”

The Solution

In speaking to AT&T, Williams was introduced to the CEL-FI Smart Cellular Coverage. While he was not familiar with the technology, he was willing to
give one a try. “I had one system that we set up in different areas in the building where there were problems to see what the signal looked like. We got a signal in every single one.”

In rolling out the solution, Williams took a staged approach. Each system he acquired was set up and tested in two additional areas before purchasing more. “That’s how we built out the network. Because we are a hospital we are very conscious of budgets so have to explain every expenditure. A step-by-step process made the most sense.”

Once the initial stages were completed, Williams says he was given CFO approval to complete the job. “He didn’t hesitate once he saw the results.”

Installation of each CEL-FI system was quick. “It took no time at all to do the downloading and linking [of the CEL-FI WAVE app],” Williams says. “You just go on the website, download the app and they sync up, no problem. I really enjoyed the fact we didn’t have to call tech support for upgrades. I have to say, I like plug-and-play.”


A total of nine CEL-FI PRO systems were installed in areas ranging from engineering and radiation to emergency and ICU over a span of three months. Now Williams only has to do an occasional trace signal check to ensure they are working as they should.

“We have had no issues since they’ve been installed. And if the provider loses a signal in the area, rebooting takes no time at all.” The CEL-FI WAVE app also makes it easy for Williams to monitor and manage CEL-FI PRO systems deployed across the hospital.

Williams adds that he’s especially impressed with Nextivity’s support team for CEL-FI. “When I talked to the young lady about CEL-FI, she really knew her job. She told me what it does, what we can do with it, and provided the documentation. It took five minutes for her to explain things and send me what I needed. I could handle the rest from there.”

Most importantly, the staff is happy that he managed to resolve a long-standing coverage problem. “Everyone here is impressed with the results. When you get a good product like CEL-FI, it’s a wonderful thing.”

Contact us today to help with your Cellular Coverage Problems

This CEL-FI installation was undertaken by our partners, in which CEL-FI has a global footprint in almost 100 countries. For a referral to a local expert in your area, please contact us via phone or email.