Seattle IT Wires KeyArena for the King County Health Clinic

When thousands of medical volunteers came together to provide free medical, dental, and vision care to the community, Seattle IT provided the technology and digital capabilities for the King County Health Clinic. Seattle IT’s Eric Bell and his team planned for months to build an Internet network for the event.

The free medical clinic brought together healthcare organizations, civic agencies, non-profits, private businesses, and volunteers from across the state for the free four-day clinic at Seattle Center’s KeyArena.

Seattle IT’s team played a vital role in fusing the grassroots community event with the needed technology to treat patients. The team stretched wire to build hubs and bring dozens of laptops, mobile stations, and printers in the KeyArena online.

“We also built redundant, or backup connections, to ensure the network was working for the entire event,” said Bell. “The laptops, printers, rolling hubs, and all other devices needed to be connected to the Internet without fail to help make this event successful.”

The devices served as patient intake stations to welcome the thousands that lined up through the last weekend in October to get free health services. They collected data given voluntarily from patients who were treated. There were also mobile interpreter stations that streamed from an offsite translator speaking any language to any patient.

The IT planning started in the spring when City employees met with all the organizations involved. They built a diagram to map out what the network would look like and tracked the work through a spreadsheet. Bell says the event grows in complexity every year and his team of Stephen Burke and Kevin Tom, with help from Steve Mulford and Scott Coppess, spent many hours executing the set-up and take-down of the event.

“This was certainly a wonderful and great opportunity to help all the dedicated volunteers who committed their time to make the clinic run smoothly and successfully in providing medical assistance to the homeless community,” said Tom. “My part in setting up the technology is very little compared to how much they’ve accomplished. It was great to see all the happy faces and smiles at the event.”

Telephone capabilities were also added by Mark Peterson from Seattle IT’s telephone services. He set up desk phones with voice mail in several suites in KeyArena for the care providers. Then Peterson modified the call center to allow callers to get information in both English and Spanish.

“I get to work on a variety of interesting projects,” said Peterson. “But it’s a privilege to be part of such a worthy initiative that brings significant benefit to so many.”

This year, the clinic treated more than 4,300 patients and provided more than $3.7 million in healthcare services over the four-day period. Exact treatment numbers are still coming in, but the clinic is expected to have matched the services of last year when 2,485 received dental care, 2,830 received medical care, and 1,373 patients received eye care.