By David Brown, Vice President of Comcast Business, California Region
With the digitization of health and patient records, the emergence of bandwidth-intensive technology tools designed to aid in medical processes, and innovations such as virtual care, it’s now more important than ever for healthcare organizations to have a high-performance, reliable and scalable network in place.
Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley found out first-hand just how critical network performance is to the patient experience and care. In the healthcare industry, success greatly hinges on reliable connectivity, advanced communications services, and scalable bandwidth that not only meets today’s needs but can adapt to support future requirements as well. Here’s its story.
Unreliable EHR Access Impedes Patient Care
Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley delivers high-quality, comprehensive healthcare and wellness services to members of the American Indian and Alaskan Native communities living in the greater Santa Clara, California, region. The organization provides a range of outpatient services, including counseling, dental services and medical care, across its 11 locations.
Indian Health Center stores all patient records in a private, remotely housed data center. Health providers across locations need access to these records to understand patient history, retrieve lab results, prescribe drugs and view other key medical information. In short, providers’ ability to administer effective care and deliver a superior patient experience depends on fast and reliable access to these EHRs, making seamless network connectivity critical.
Indian Health Center was using a T1 internet connection, with speeds ranging from 1.5 to 3 Megabits per second (Mbps). As the practice grew to 11 locations and reliance on electronic data increased, the legacy T1 connection couldn’t keep up. Insufficient bandwidth could no longer support EHR demands. Employees had trouble viewing patient information. And, on top of everything else, Indian Health Center was struggling with poor customer service from its T1 provider.
Understanding that seamless EHR access is critical for administering care, Indian Health Center knew it needed to upgrade its network connection. Calvin Huang, IT director at Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley noted: “Indian Health Center strives to deliver superior care and service to promote our patients’ physical health and contribute to the overall well-being of the community. To help our patients in this way, fast and reliable access to medical records is a must. The information stored in
EHRs are mission critical, and if access is slowed or compromised, it can negatively affect our level of care.”
Comcast Business Ethernet Is The Prescription For Network Wellness
After a thorough competitive analysis, Indian Health Center chose Comcast Business Ethernet to power its EHR system. The health and wellness provider now benefits from:
- Ethernet Network Services (ENS), which range in speed from 10 to 100 Mbps, to connect the organization’s data center with company headquarters as well as the remaining 10 locations.
- A 50 Mbps Ethernet Dedicated Internet (EDI) line to provide backup for Indian Health Center’s other web-based operations.
After turning to Comcast Business, Indian Health Center immediately experienced a significant boost in performance and efficiency. Employees now have fast, reliable access to EHR records across the organization’s entire network of locations, enabling them to easily access the critical patient information needed to administer the proper care. They have a secure connection to transmit files. And Indian Health Center is experiencing improved provider service, as Comcast Business quickly connects company representatives to a dedicated support team that can address questions and resolve issues in a timely fashion.
“With Comcast Business, our network connectivity is strong and reliable, providing our physicians and healthcare workers with the ability to access critical EHR records quickly and view them clearly, from all our locations,” added Huang. “Network connectivity should not be a concern or a detriment to our medical staff’s ability to provide patient care, and with Comcast Business it never is. Our staff never has to give EHR access a second thought, and employees can focus their undivided attention on helping patients thrive.”
High-Performance Ethernet Positively Impacts Patient Care
The Indian Health Center case study demonstrates the importance of evaluating legacy networks and their limitations. Many organizations find that existing technology infrastructures aren't optimized for handling and storing vast amounts of data, or supporting growing bandwidth demands.
That's why it's imperative for organizations to adopt a scalable, secure and high-performance network that enables continuity of care across multiple locations. Ethernet can be the engine that increases productivity and improves collaboration. Its blend of capacity and scalability make it ideal to support mission-critical applications and EHRs. And, most importantly, the business and technology benefits that Ethernet services provide enable healthcare organizations to provide unrivaled patient care and a superior customer experience.