Switching Hospitals onto the Fast Track

Covenant Health Care had a problem. Business was too good for Tennessee's largest health-care provider; so good, in fact, that the company's antiquated communications systems were having trouble keeping up. Art Jeffords, network operations supervisor, found the solution in a new communications infrastructure.

09/01/2003


Covenant Health Care had a problem. Business was too good for Tennessee's largest health-care provider; so good, in fact, that the company's antiquated communications systems were having trouble keeping up.

Art Jeffords, network operations supervisor, found the solution in a new communications infrastructure. Covenant's three largest LANs were upgraded to Ethernet, and the number of network connections at all five of its hospitals was doubled.

"We have more than enough bandwidth to dispatch medical images, patient records, financial information and other critical data to the appropriate staff without delay," Jeffords said. "Our medical staff accesses this data on demand—at patient's bedsides, in doctors' lounges and at twice as many desks as before."

The hospital also invested in powerful new switches to create a series of virtual LANs (VLANs). The VLANs separate network information into different caches, allowing confidential treatment records to be stored securely. Another VLAN provides plenty of bandwidth to run the X-rays, MRIs, CAT scans and other imaging equipment in the radiology department.

The new systems are based on a variety of switches operating over existing fiber and copper wires. At the three larger hospitals, 30 switch 4900s connect at Gigabit speeds to three switch 4007s; the combination drives the networks 100 times faster than before. Two smaller networks are based on Ethernet switch 4005s. "With this system, we can provide our patients with the most advanced, accurate and timely health care available," Jeffords said.





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