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Comcast Business hooks up health network with Ethernet

Tue, 07/30/2013 - 12:50pm
Mike Robuck

Inspira Health Network is using Comcast Business’ Ethernet services to transfer high-resolution radiology images, internal office communications and documents, and electronic medical records (EMRs) across various locations.

Medical professionals in the Inspira Health Network will be able to share medical files across multiple locations in a high bandwidth, secure manner.

Inspira Health Network combines two of southern New Jersey's health care systems—South Jersey Healthcare and Underwood-Memorial Hospital— to offer primary, emergent and specialty care to patients throughout Cumberland, Salem, Gloucester, Atlantic and Camden counties.

With more than 5,100 employees and 1,000 medical staff, the organization includes the SJH Regional Medical Center, SJH Elmer Hospital, SJH Bridgeton Health Center, Underwood-Memorial Hospital and dozens of outpatient sites throughout the region.

As medical technology evolved and high-resolution radiology images and electronic medical records became part of the hospital's standard operating practices, Inspira needed a network platform that could accommodate the ongoing transfer of these critical, bandwidth-demanding files across each of its facilities and internal data centers.

In order to meet Inspira’s needs,  Comcast responded with an offering that combined several different Ethernet services including:

• Five 1 Gbps Ethernet Private Line connections that now run between four

      locations: SJH headquarters in Vineland, Bridgeton Hospital, Elmer

      Hospital and Underwood-Memorial in Woodbury;

• 11 additional Ethernet Private Line connections with speeds of between 10

      and 100 Megabits-per-second (Mbps) to link eight remote sites to

      Bridgeton Hospital and three remote patient facilities to Elmer Hospital;

• Six 6 Mbps Ethernet Private Line over Hybrid Fiber/Coax lines that now

      connect two remote sites to Elmer Hospital and four to

      Underwood-Memorial; and

• Two 100 Mbps Ethernet Dedicated Internet connections at both its

      Bridgeton Hospital and Elmer Hospital locations to improve Internet

      access speeds.

"One of the great things about our Comcast Ethernet services is the ability to reroute our data traffic through a separate private line to access our files from any of our connected locations. This, combined with being able to quickly scale up our bandwidth with a simple phone instead of a site visit, has allowed our doctors and nurses to be more responsive to our patients by having all the information at their fingertips, regardless of location," said Thomas Pacek, vice president and chief information officer for Inspira Health Network. "As we acquire new practices, having a technology partner that can provide us with reliable connectivity, high speeds, and vast network coverage will allow us to continue doing what we need to do as a premier health network."

Inspira Health Network is also using its Ethernet services as the basis for its Health Information Exchange, an online portal that allows physicians to access a variety of patient and office data, including hospital records, surgery center notes, home health diagnostics, and internal file.. The organization is testing out a similar portal for its patients as well, which it expects to complete in the coming months.

"Ethernet has become an increasingly popular connectivity solution for many healthcare organizations that are constantly struggling with wanting to improve patient care while still being cognizant of costs, especially as the industry shifts to digital healthcare," said Kevin Conmy, vice president of Comcast Business, Freedom Region. "Comcast has made a number of investments in making its fiber infrastructure broadly available and completely diverse from other networks so that hospitals, physicians' offices and patient care facilities across regionally-dispersed locations can all be connected and benefit from the scalability, reliability and speeds that Ethernet offers."

Aided by the customer wins in its Ethernet product portfolio, Comcast Business Services generated $2.4 billion in revenue last year, which was an increase of 34 percent from the previous year. Comcast first launched its Metro Ethernet services in 2011

Comcast will report its second quarter earnings tomorrow. 

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