Spotlight on Network Hardware/Software January 26, 2010
Featured Article
Ethernet network speeds delivery of images

By increasing its bandwidth from a 3-MB Internet connection to 100 MB, Holy Name Hospital added more capacity, speed and reliability.

With more than 700,000 patient visits each year and an ever-growing demand for services, Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, N.J., was ready for a comprehensive upgrade of its computerized systems. As patient care needs increased, critical data and image sharing became more important than ever to guard against patient waits and delays with diagnoses. The hospital was using multiple carriers but identifying which carrier managed which line was difficult, and costs skyrocketed because of the constant need to add bandwidth to scale to growth.

Holy Name needed to make a change. The catalyst for diversifying communications providers to guarantee always-on operations finally occurred when its IT team witnessed a massive outage caused by a storm in Rochelle Park, N.J.

Holy Name decided to switch a majority of its communications services to Optimum Lightpath, bringing two dedicated fiber lines into its facilities from different streets for redundancy. The fully redundant, self-healing Ethernet network and its high-availability, high-capacity voice/Internet bundle now powers mission-critical applications and services for the hospital.

"Because of that storm, businesses' phones were down for at least 24 hours and there was nothing they could do," says Mike Skvarenina, AVP of information systems at Holy Name Hospital. "We needed to make sure that never happened to us. We cannot live without phone or Internet services, so we switched. In a competitive environment like this, where patients demand and deserve the fastest, most-advanced service, physicians need access to reports and images in seconds, not minutes."

By increasing its bandwidth from a 3-MB Internet connection to 100 MB, Holy Name Hospital added more capacity, speed and reliability for significantly less than it would cost for similar services with another carrier. Skvarenina says a major benefit is the size of the (Internet) pipe (100 MB), in addition to the ability to use just the bandwidth necessary for telecommunications services. Next was the fixed monthly cost and large allotment of minutes, and, finally, the idea of a "self-healing" network.

"Now, we pay just one price, enjoy a very large Internet pipe and we have the peace of mind that the chances of losing phone service to the outside world have been reduced, not only due to the self-healing network but also because we have two paths from different streets coming into the building for added redundancy," says Skvarenina.

"We use the Internet to connect our satellite offices to our network, and we have many clinicians accessing our systems from their homes and offices," he adds. "We are also constantly exchanging data with third-party healthcare partners and our radiologists are set up to read test results from their homes."

With the new service, Holy Name Hospital can provide reliable phone service and instant access to its online clinical information system, enabling physicians and other caregivers to gain access to test results, CT/nuclear and positron emission tomography scan images, and patient histories in just seconds - remotely from the home, in the office, at the patient bedside or in the emergency department.

Holy Name's private physician practices can access its WebHIS clinical-information system from anywhere to review test results or radiology images, and follow the care of their patients. The hospital is also able to communicate real-time emergency room registrations to the county for pandemic detection surveillance and validate patients' insurance coverage during the registration process, all through the Internet.

Holy Name Hospital also significantly increased its quality, reliability and speed of communications with patients and its community, Skvarenina says, and saved $50,000 a year.

Today, Holy Name's fully computerized environment consolidates all voice, data, Internet and imaging communications over Optimum Lightpath's 100-percent fiber metro Ethernet network. "Speed is so critical for us," says Dr. Jacqueline Brunetti, medical director of radiology at Holy Name Hospital. "Making diagnoses more quickly, whether from home or in the hospital, can impact patients' lives, particularly if it's emergency care. The speed of this service has made a significant improvement in our ability to deliver better patient care."

For Holy Name Hospital, the new service has changed the way staff work at the patient bedside, in radiology, at the pharmacy and in the emergency department. Communications technology now helps diagnose patients faster to improve outcomes and save lives.

For more information on Optimum Lightpath solutions, click here.

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