You do not have to use a router to connect to an ADSL connection from your home to the main office. You can use a modem that connects to your Ethernet interface card on your PC to connect through ADSL. Your service provider will provide you with a modem. That is what I have installed at my remote lab. I use a Westell Wirespeed modem for my ADSL connection.
You probably have an IPSEC connection over your VPN that the hospital wants to use for security and that is why a Cisco router is used. There are various software packages that can be used with a VPN concentrator that allows the package to run IPSEC across the DSL link. You would just have to install it on your laptop. By doing this you will not have to carry a Cisco router to your home office. Make sure to study the documentation for VPN Concentrator that you are using and it will explain the different ways users can connect to the concentrator.
This was first published in August 2002