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Network upgrade saves thousands

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   By Jeff Coleman, May 2012

H05_Infrastructure_Comcast_Jeff ColemanNavos, a non-profit mental health organization based in Seattle, went from T1 to Ethernet and reduced back-up time by 80 percent.

As data volumes grow, healthcare organizations of all sizes are requiring more bandwidth than ever to centrally store their important data for access by doctors, nurses and administrators across multiple facilities – and to create off-site backups for disaster recovery. That was certainly true for Navos, a non-profit mental health organization based in Seattle, as we evaluated our connectivity options for a network upgrade for our new 53,000-square-foot campus expansion.

Since the network is a critical part of the healthcare process, we began by outlining requirements. We needed security, reliability and scalability that our previous T1 line could not deliver.

The primary goal for Navos’ network upgrade was to improve our staff’s ability to work quickly and provide timely and efficient patient care. We also faced a significant IT challenge: Our existing data back-up process was arduous and bandwidth intensive, requiring us to frequently spend 60 hours completing a backup, which caused various bottlenecks and slowdowns.

After our careful evaluation, we upgraded from a T1-based solution to Comcast’s Ethernet Private Line service that immediately provided higher bandwidth and a faster connection. Our time-intensive data back-up process was reduced by 80 percent – from 60 hours to just 12. Comcast’s Ethernet solution will enable us to do video conferencing, which means our staff members will no longer need to drive from campus to campus for training, which saves us time, money and energy. Our healthcare staff can also quickly access electronic medical records, conduct fast file transfers and gather mental health information from government, university and private websites.

Our ROI numbers from this upgrade are quite impressive and easily justify our investment. We save thousands of dollars a year with a connection that is 10 times faster. If we had continued using a T1, we would have had to start with three T1s and expand to four or five T1 lines to meet our bandwidth needs. With Comcast, we have access to 50 Mbps for less than $1,200 per month instead of three T1s of 4.5 Mbps for more than $1,200 per month (with an incremental cost of over $400 per T1).


The future of healthcare applications is already here; not only can Ethernet properly transfer and back up patient electronic medical records (EMRs), many healthcare organizations are relying on Ethernet for advanced needs, such as telemedicine.


Our staff members truly appreciate the ability to access and update patient records in minutes, which boosts their productivity and improves patient care. From an IT standpoint, we know their data travels over a secure point-to-point connection to preserve privacy – a critical legal requirement in the healthcare industry. While Navos’ staff focuses on high-quality patient care on the front lines, our job in IT is to ensure all data only goes where it should be going, so that our staff can confidently connect to the network without privacy or HIPAA compliance concerns.

Our network upgrade process was relatively painless and saved time and money. As a result, we are installing a second Ethernet connection at another campus to support our growth and improve staff efficiency even further.  

The future of healthcare applications is already here; not only can Ethernet properly transfer and back up patient electronic medical records (EMRs), many healthcare organizations are relying on Ethernet for advanced needs, such as telemedicine.

Although bandwidth needs will continue to evolve, we’re glad to be ahead of the game and prepared to handle the influx of even more data. We have accomplished our goal of helping our health providers deliver superior patient care without worrying about network or IT-related ­matters.

About the author

Jeff Coleman is information systems manager, Navos. For more on Comcast, click here.


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