By Christine Kern, contributing writer
Flexible bandwidth provides greater response and reduces latency in transfers.
Medical facilities grapple with the imposing obstacle of managing large patient data sets over limited bandwidth while continuously adding devices and technology that suck the life out of the existing transfer capabilities. There is only so much you can do to keep up with ever growing demand for network bandwidth with the limited and rigid legacy network.
One healthcare system, Austin Cancer Center has deployed software defined networking (SDN) bandwidth to conquer this challenge. Using a technology that enables on-demand network provisioning service, Austin Cancer Center has seen patient scan transfer times that once took up to a day drop to less than five minutes. Physicians can view scans in near real-time with their patients in one appointment. Before the implementation, latency was between 20-30 milliseconds but it has dropped between 1-3 milliseconds on a full load.
“Austin Cancer Center uses AT&T Switched Ethernet on Demand to ensure that each physician, nurse, and family member has access to the information they need to make informed decisions regarding patient care. AT&T Switched Ethernet on Demand is a critical piece of our infrastructure which ensures the team of physicians working a case have the information needed to quickly diagnose and begin the patient’s treatment. The flexibility and stability of this technology allows us the ability to increase bandwidth when necessary to ensure treatment modalities have the resources needed for successful treatment delivery,” explained Austin Cancer Center Jason Lindgren, CIO in an email.
Since AT&T launched Network on Demand in Austin two years ago, it has rolled it out to dozens of U.S. cities. The service stems from the network operator's adoption of software-defined networking to reduce the time it takes to deliver services. The product lets customers order, provision and change WAN services in days, and sometimes minutes.
“With the ability to send large datasets, AT&T Switched Ethernet on Demand allows us to keep services in-house — giving our patients the convenience and comfort to stay with the staff they are familiar with. With the ability to scale bandwidth and class of service up or down as-needed, we have realized significant cost savings. In addition, our billing department is able to quickly access patient records, leading to a 20-25 percent increase in team productivity,” said Lindgren.