Healthcare Technology Featured Article

June 26, 2009

Healthcare Technology and News: Franciscan Health System Deploys BridgeWave's Gigabit Wireless Links to Provide Secure Transmission of PACS, VoIP and Data Services

The Franciscan Health System has deployed multiple gigabit wireless links from BridgeWave Communications to provide secure transmission of Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS), voice, and data communications between hospitals and its service center.
Franciscan Health System provides patients in the state of Washington with comprehensive healthcare services. The services are provided through its five hospitals, primary and specialty care medical group, same-day surgery centers, hospice and palliative care services, occupational health and physical therapy clinics, and centers for advanced medicine. BridgeWave’s unlicensed 60 GHz radios were selected by Franciscan Health System for uninterrupted gigabit connectivity and ultra-low latency performance.
The network connectivity at one of the main business offices of Franciscan Health System, called the Service Center comprised of two licensed 100 Mb/s microwave radios. The Service Center was often left with one link and unreliable network connectivity after the radio links started to fail. Franciscan Health System started looking for alternative wireless solutions after the failure of the second 100 Mb/s link.
The Franciscan Health System needed an economical solution that was reliable, HIPAA-compliant, quick to deploy and could handle the bandwidth-intensive traffic. With assistance from Moonblink Communications, they initially identified lower capacity systems as a possible network solution. But these systems were not able to meet the bandwidth and reliability demands to support Franciscan Health System’s needs.
Moonblink then recommended a gigabit wireless solution that would replace the failed radio links connecting Franciscan’s St. Joseph Medical Center and the Service Center. After reviewing several gigabit wireless vendors, Franciscan Health System finally selected BridgeWave Communications. The ultra-low latency and fiber-equivalent performance of BridgeWave’s 60 GHz, AR60, products was instrumental in their selection.
The 60 GHz capacity and AdaptRate mode switching from BridgeWave offer reliable network connectivity regardless of inclement weather. The AdaptRate technology will switch transmissions from GigE to 100 Mb/s data rates during violent downpours, thereby maintaining a highly available link. An added level of security and interference immunity is also available due to the ultra narrow beamwidth of these links.
To ensure a highly-available, secure network, Franciscan Health System has decided to install additional BridgeWave 60 GHz links creating a gigabit ring between facilities. By using BridgeWave’s gigabit wireless links, Franciscan Health System will be able to save $500,000 over a five-year period.
According to Ryan Drovdahl, the network supervisor at Franciscan Health System, with PACS, VoIP and a number of other mission-critical applications riding on Franciscan Health System’s network, reliability, security, and performance were critical to the success of the business. Implementing gigabit radios in place of leased line services has realized greater end-to-end visibility and control over their network environment.

Calvin Azuri is a contributing editor for HealthTechZone. To read more of Calvin’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tim Gray

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