D & P BLOG

When the health care experts at ProMedica needed to upgrade their systems to the latest possible technology and the fastest possible connections, they turned to D & P Communications.

ProMedica — which operates Bixby and Herrick Hospitals, along with ten more hospitals and numerous clinics, doctors’ offices, and other health care facilities across southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio — recently connected all of the sites in its North Region with a cutting-edge network installed and operated by D & P.

The project gives ProMedica the high-speed connections necessary to take advantage of the latest in medical technology, along with the highest possible reliability.

“Resiliency and speed are really the two things that drove this project,” explains Benjamin Vickers, ProMedica’s information technology director.

ProMedica Bixby and Herrick Hospitals now both have Internet connections capable of carrying up to 10 gigabits per second. By comparison, a residential customer with a DSL line might have a 6 megabit per second connection, and might only use a fraction of that speed. One gigabit is 1,000 megabits, so the connections at Bixby and Herrick can carry thousands of times as much data as most residential customers use.

In addition, all of the physicians’ offices in the ProMedica North region are now on 1 gigabit-per-second connections.

Why is speed so important? It’s because electronic data is a crucial part of modern medicine.

All medical records are stored electronically, and the high-speed connections between all of ProMedica’s facilities allow records to be transferred seamlessly so all of the doctors and nurses involved in a patient’s care have instant access to all the information they need.

Medical technology is constantly improving, and things like X-Rays, CAT scans and MRIs are generating better and higher-resolution images, making faster connections a must.

And high-speed connections can make transfers between facilities much easier. For example, if a patient needs to transfer from Bixby to ProMedica Toledo Hospital, teleconferencing systems can allow the doctor in Toledo to virtually “meet” the patient before they even arrive.

It’s not all about speed, however. For a health system, reliability is of paramount importance.

For maximum reliability, D & P maintains extensive routes of fiber optic cable in the ground to provide two completely separate paths between Bixby and Herrick Hospitals and Toledo. One path runs through Monroe and the other through southern Lenawee County, guaranteeing that even if something unexpected happens — such as a backhoe accidentally hitting a fiber-optic cable somewhere along the route — the connection can switch to an alternate path without missing a beat.

That philosophy of having a backup for everything applies to all of the facilities’ internal networks too. Whether it’s at Bixby and Herrick or at your doctor’s office, every piece of equipment is doubled so that if one component fails, another is ready to instantly take its place.

The system is designed for a 99.999% uptime guarantee — which is just about as close as you can get to no downtime whatsoever. And the network connecting ProMedica North facilities to each other and to Toledo is now as robust as the networks you would find in any major metropolitan area.

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