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Solutions for Healthcare Networks

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When it comes to healthcare, Allied Telesis is the industry leader in providing cost-effective, reliable, secure IP network solutions.

The healthcare market has unique networking requirements, which require reliable, high performance networks, 24 hours per day, every day of the year. When the welfare of patients is at stake, network failure is not an option. Whether viewing patients' medical records or providing real-time medical services, doctors demand accuracy, speed and clarity, while maintaining patient privacy.

Allied Telesis is a recognized supplier and technology partner for healthcare providers around the globe. The network has become a critical factor in the landscape of patient care. And quality care and affordable healthcare services can only be delivered profitably by utilizing digital technology connected by a secure and reliable IP network. Allied Telesis network solutions deliver the care needed for optimum outcomes with the most advanced healthcare network.

Connected Hospital LAN Solutions

Many hospitals are updating their network systems in order to support adoption of Electronic Medical Records, to deploy new ordering systems, to inter-connect multiple departments, or to enable large volumes of digital images to be transported and processed. When it comes to viewing patients' records, doctors demand accuracy, speed, and clarity. Security also is vital to maintain patients' privacy.

The ability to rapidly configure and connect mission-critical devices requires an operating system designed to take complexity out and create a service-oriented architecture. Allied Telesis AlliedWare Plus™ operating systems do exactly that. Having a wide range of switching platforms designed for edge connectivity, distributed networking and access aggregation operating on a common operating system platform brings a simple yet economic approach to building the hospital LAN. Features like Virtual Chassis Stacking (VCStack™) and Link Aggregation (LAG) add value via network simplification and management.

Critical applications such as medical imaging and other high bandwidth applications need the same level of high availability normally associated with core NW solutions. Solutions like the x908, the Allied Telesis Network Management System (NMS), and the x3112, have been built from the ground up for the edge of the network, but with features and functionality equivalent to much more expensive core NW switches, like the Cisco 6500. Many hospitals are developing their networks with the SwitchBlade® x908 and x900 Series switches at the core, alongside other Allied Telesis Gigabit Ethernet switches. This architecture ensures a highly-reliable, scalable, and secure network.

A typical hospital network configuration is shown below:

On a price-per-port basis at a typical mid-sized hospital (approx. 300 beds and close to 3,000 ports), Allied Telesis solutions save over 50% of the NW purchase cost, but deliver high availability, advanced edge security, simple network configuration and management, and high bandwidth.

Governments are encouraging healthcare providers to invest in enabling technologies that improve efficiency, streamline record-keeping, provide doctors with real-time access to medical images, and centrally store patient records. Programs such as ARRA and HITECH in the U.S. present both opportunities and challenges for hospitals as money is potentially available but often requires a cumbersome amount of paperwork to qualify. With its long history of partnering with government and healthcare organizations, Allied Telesis is adept at guiding medical providers through the often-complex world of grants and legislative mandates while simultaneously providing the network systems critical to the success of healthcare facilities' adoption or expansion of vital diagnostic and administrative solutions.

 

IP Video Surveillance for Healthcare

Ensuring the security of patients and employees is critical to the mission of every healthcare organization. The shift from analog to digital and high-definition technologies is enabling video surveillance and access control technology to become a more strategic tool in protecting assets and people as well as in analyzing incidents to determine cause and avoid repeat situations. As camera, storage, and analytics capabilities progress, the need for an adaptive IP/ Ethernet network infrastructure that scales and optimizes application performance intensifies.

The new-generation IP-based video technologies displacing analog CCTV systems use high-definition, high-megapixel cameras and high-quality lenses to produce full-motion, real-time video. The requirement to have clear, high-resolution, real-time video demands broadband IP to ensure uninterrupted quality. An IP video surveillance system consists of multiple cameras connected to video storage servers recording and processing video streams, and an operations center or hub where video is displayed and monitored on a real-time basis. Many IP security cameras feature 360-degree pan-and-tilt capabilities controlled remotely from an operations center. To support the IP video network and enable remote camera control and operation, a high-speed IP/Ethernet network is required with its design and functionality tailored to IP video applications.

IP security cameras are used in nearly every type of facility and application: on streets, on building exteriors, inside buildings and hallways, in parking lots, and so on. There are many types of fixed or adjustable cameras suited for many applications. In order to serve the wide variety of needs and applications, whether indoors or out, a reliable broadband IP network is needed to connect cameras, servers, and the operations center where monitoring occurs, whether inside a building or atop a roof or traffic light. The range of applications, environments, and even the types of cameras used, all dictate the need for adaptive IP/Ethernet networking infrastructure scalable to and optimized for the specific requirement. A “one solution fits all” approach lacks the robustness and economic efficiency to solve the range of applications required of IP video surveillance.

In a large campus network, or metro-area network, the video surveillance system is typically overlaid on an infrastructure that has been designed to carry multiple applications and services. Such a network, supporting a significant number of end-users, needs to be very reliable, manageable, and scalable. Such applications are often found in several facilities:

  •     City or municipal street and public surveillance networks
  •     City or municipal traffic monitoring networks
  •     Transportation, transit line networks
  •     Large campuses (hospitals, colleges, universities)
  •     Large business parks
  •     Large retail malls
  •     Military bases

It is also common to find the network in use for multiple services, with a common fiber backbone and switches used to serve more than just IP video needs. There are often other data connections, even other video such as conferencing, and possibly IP voice, within the same network. These requirements are best met by a network design in which different services are partitioned into separate VLANs, and transported over resilient rings protected by an extremely fast failover mechanism.

The Allied Telesis fast-failover ring protection solution is Ethernet Protection Switched Rings (EPSRing™). This is an extremely reliable, high-performance ring protection protocol that can restore connectivity within 50ms of a link failure being detected. Services such as video surveillance can each be provisioned with one or more VLANs running over the EPSRings, with data on Layer 2 or Layer 3 switched between the rings and the central site facility.

Telehealth, Home Delivered

As costs continue to climb to provide patient care in the hospital, as well as the steadily growing elderly population, the use of Telehealth technologies to extend care outside the hospital is on the rise. The advent of a variety of new IP-enabled digital devices that can be worn or used at home for monitoring and testing opens the way to provide high quality care remotely without a patient required to schedule medical visits and use valuable doctor’s time. The Web, too, has become another enabling tool to provide on-line, real-time diagnostics and treatment from the comfort of one’s own home.
 

Smart Home Appliances for Telehealth Applications
Allied Telesis leverages its experience in developing market-leading fiber and broadband DSL residential service gateways for the delivery of triple play to develop next generation smart appliances targeting connected home applications that includes Telehealth. Like many smart home appliances, Telehealth devices rely on wireless technologies for connectivity, and Allied Telesis is incorporating a number of the latest wireless communications innovations that enable wearable medical devices to connect, portable monitoring or diagnostics devices to connect, as well as provide the ability to interface devices via the Web. The evolution of the ‘connected home’ encompasses the convergence of wire and wireline networks using Ethernet, as well as the mobile (3G) network and home network. Allied Telesis smart home technology provides the convergence for Ethernet communications over phone, power or Ethernet cables, as well as coax, along with wireless networking capabilities using industry-standard broadband IP interfaces to a service provider’s network. As a layer 3 router, Allied Telesis smart home appliances provides the levels or security and functionality to ensure patient and caregiver privacy is maintained, no matter how remote the location.

Leveraging Universal Broadband
As universal access to healthcare and the availability of universal broadband service connectivity meld, Telehealth services and application become a practical reality. Using network service providers as partners, health care providers can fully exploit the new generation of portable and wearable devices along with Web-based personalized care services to provide long term care to patients at home. A broadband connection assures the bandwidth is available to support video-related applications, or to send and receive digital images quickly. The smart home network appliance becomes the point of convergence between devices and applications and the services network, which in turn connects caregivers to patients remotely. Unlike telemedicine, Telehealth delivers services and diagnostics to a residence, not requiring a patient to go to a doctor’s office or medical facility to be connected to a remote medical center or specialist. It becomes an affordable means to provide long-term care without the overhead of office visits or placement in long-term care facilities for the purposes of providing access to monitoring and diagnostics systems.

 

Bedside Concierge

As hospital costs continue to increase, there is growing interest in creating opportunities to capitalize on new revenues to offset costs. Bedside concierge solutions are not only an opportunity to create new revenues, but a technology that can lower operating costs as well. In fact, the value proposition for bedside concierge is one of the most compelling in the industry – and Allied Telesis is committed to delivering it.

Bedside concierge as a revenue service
During a hospital stay, patients can receive a variety of entertainment services at their bedside from a personal touch-screen video pad for a fee. They can choose, in lieu of basic TV service, to purchase a full IPTV channel package that includes premium movie channels and sports. Or, they can order movies-on-demand. And they can access the Internet and surf the Web or e-mail. The bedside concierge system can provide digital satellite music and IP voice services, as well. Statistically, more than 80% of patients will purchase enhanced entertainment services based on hospitals where it has been implemented. Hospitals, through various business models, can re-sell high quality entertainment services or create a revenue-sharing model with service providers. It eliminates the need to have TVs in hospital rooms, or make TV viewing disruptive to other patients sharing the same room.

OPEX savings in clinician applications
The bedside concierge system allows patients to order meals from menus, view treatment, medication, therapy and other schedules, and access education and information related to their medical treatment. The same system provides access for doctors and nurses to patient information securely, thus eliminating the need to use expensive portable carts or carry computer devices with them when checking on a patient. Test ordering, vital signs monitoring and similar needs can be accessed from the touch-screen terminal. It reduces the needs for other systems and devices, providing a single point of access right at the patient’s bed, and therefore lowers both administration and operating costs.

Allied Telesis concierge solutions
As a leading provider of IPTV and triple play solutions for service providers, Allied Telesis knows what it takes to build a successful bedside concierge solution. Allied Telesis partners with leading bedside concierge systems vendors for the hardware and software (back office) needs, providing Ethernet switch infrastructure designed and built for IP video, voice and data triple play. Allied Telesis has a variety of partnerships with service providers, content providers and other service integrators that can deliver to the hospital the services necessary to create a revenue business. Allied Telesis brings years of experience in the service provider and hospitality markets to help hospitals and convalescent care facilities implement a value-added bedside concierge solution.

 

Video: Delivering Next-Generation Healthcare Solutions

Allied Telesis networking solutions empower medical professionals while enhancing patient care.