Adelaide-based network specialist MIMP has installed one of the fastest privately-owned wireless networks in the world to help SA Heart Centres deliver better patient care.
When Australia’s largest cardiology group, SA Heart Centres, recognised that its computer network was holding back its development by an inability to transfer large medical imaging files between branches, it turned to MIMP connecting solutions.
Using secure 120 megabit-per-second licensed microwave links, MIMP installed one of the fastest privately owned wireless networks in the world, which went live in November 2007.
The major benefit has been better patient care through providing immediate access to centrally stored patient records from any SA Heart Centres cardiology branch throughout metropolitan Adelaide. “MIMP has future-proofed our technology with a high performance network and predictable costs. We are gaining a rapid return on our investment," said SA Health Centres past chairman Dr Bill Heddle.
The full SA Heart Centres case study follows:
MIMP case study executive summary
SA Heart Centres
Australia’s largest cardiology group, SA Heart Centres, recognised that its computer network was holding back its development by an inability to transfer large medical imaging files between branches.
Using secure 120 megabit-per-second licensed microwave links, MIMP installed one of the fastest privately owned networks in the world. The network went live in November 2007.
The major benefit has been better patient care through providing immediate access to centrally stored patient records from any SA Heart Centres cardiology branch throughout metropolitan Adelaide.
“MIMP has future-proofed our technology with a high performance network and predictable costs. We are gaining a rapid return on our investment."
- SA Health Centres chairman Dr Bill Heddle
MIMP connecting solutions
294 South Road
Hilton SA 5033
MIMP customer case study
MIMP network gets SA Heart Centres pumping
Business problem: Sluggish network slowed down diagnosis
A slow communication network was holding back the development of the largest cardiology group in Australia, SA Heart Centres.
As it increasingly relied on technology to deliver services more effectively, SA Heart Centres was hampered by sluggish network performance that limited its ability to transmit high resolution electronic medical records between branches in the metropolitan Adelaide region.
This forced the 23-year-old business to rely on paper-based systems, which meant cardiologists regularly had to transport hard copy medical records between branches to diagnose and treat patients.
SA Heart Centres is an Adelaide-based practice with 17 cardiologists and 70 staff that provides quality cardiac care to 60,000 patients each year. It operates six major clinics in suburban Adelaide, several smaller clinics in the Adelaide Hills and a rural outreach program at Mt Gambier, Port Lincoln, the Riverland and the Fleurieu Peninsula.
In modern medicine, high resolution imaging and prioritised application management are vital to deliver speedy diagnosis and life-saving reporting services. All images scanned on an ultrasound machine can accept limited image compression, which means that file sizes are often about 300 megabytes per image. Angiogram excerpts can contain up to 800 megabytes per image.
SA Heart Centres was unable to link its primary locations with a cost-effective, IP (Internet Protocol) connection that could run faster than 10 megabits per second. High-speed fixed line communication links such as fibre optic were unviable because of their expense.
Practices connected by ADSL and unlicensed microwave links restricted cardiologists to low-bandwidth applications. Even high-speed ADSL lacked the capacity to transfer imaging and other applications relevant to SA Heart Centres operations.
MIMP solution: One of the fastest privately owned networks in the world
SA Heart Centres chose MIMP connecting solutions to design, deploy and integrate a wireless Wide Area Network (WAN) that could make electronic medical records available at its major clinics throughout the Adelaide metropolitan area.
SA Heart Centres required all sites to connect to the high-bandwidth microwave WAN. Equipment was selected for quality, reliability, serviceability, cost, technical support and value for money.
The project included the engineering installation of RF (Radio Frequency) locked profiles, full duplex prioritised applications and encryption across the entire network.
To meet SA Heart Centres’ need, MIMP installed one of the fastest privately owned networks in the world. The $237,000 network, which went live in November 2007, uses secure 120 megabit-per-second licensed microwave links, which can be upgraded to as fast as 200 megabits per second.
Using the highest level encryption technology, the licensed and unlicensed microwave WAN provides a full duplex communication platform to distribute medical applications throughout the metropolitan practices.
In order to share information across all practices, MIMP identified the constraints and guidelines governing the medical imaging industry. The resulting network allows SA Heart Centres to prioritise imaging and applications over its network, ensuring they are transferred back and forth without delay.
Redundancy is built into the system. State-of-the-art servers are located at the Ashford Heart Centre head office with terabit RAID drives while a back-up imaging and booking server are at the Norwood Heart Centre. Pre-existing ADSL and legacy unlicensed microwave WAN services are used for redundancy.
The network provides secure VPN (Virtual Private Network) connections for vendors servicing all cardiology equipment. Office applications for bookings and patient records are encrypted across all networks. Proprietary microwave links, both licensed and unlicensed, use further security based on Cisco networking products.
The network is monitored online, 24 hours, seven days a week, by MIMP’s call centre.This live monitoring system uses SMS and email to notify of failures or preventable issues diagnosed before a failure. The benefit is that clinicians and employees remain free of any disruptions and often oblivious to problems.
This is a critical element for the practices around metropolitan Adelaide and regional sites.
Business benefits: Better patient care and major cost savings
The major benefit of the new communication network has been better patient care. Using the licensed wireless network, the major clinics in Adelaide can immediately access patient records stored at one central location. As well as eliminating possible loss or misplacement of physical records as cardiologists move between branches, it provides a complete patient history as they diagnose a patient.
The SA Heart Centres Communication Network project now helps to provide patients and referring doctors with better access to diagnostic reports, delivering a faster, more efficient reporting service. Benefits include providing cross-practice diagnosis drawing on sub-specialist cardiology expertise, with immediate response to a critical patient, as well as diagnosis from a cardiologist in the hospital setting for life-threatening operations.
SA Heart Centres has realised major cost savings and provided bandwidth to locations beyond the capability of a carrier with zero data transfer costs. The initial design allows the easy expansion of practices by letting them increase in size without the need to upgrade communication links.
The system enables the company to deliver services required for the future with known costs. This is an important aspect that provides peace of mind for the integration of future technologies. By owning the private network, SA Heart Centres controls the recurring costs of its infrastructure.
This network allows SA Heart Centres to move to a paperless office and provides the platform for Voice over IP telephony to all sites. These practices are located at Ashford, Flinders Private Hospital, Noarlunga Central, Norwood, North Adelaide and Woodville Park.
SA Heart Centres now has an enviable network infrastructure. This extremely fast, cost controlled bandwidth enables it to run future applications such as voice, video conferencing and security video integration. The company has since implemented state-of-the-art Phillips Imaging and Promadis software for imaging records, booking and patient records, which are accessible from all locations.
In September 2008, MIMP won a National Electrical and Communications Association of Australia (NECA) Voice and Data - Small Projects (under $500,000) award for its SA Heart Centres network.
SA Health Centres chairman Dr Bill Heddle said the MIMP network had done more than bring the organisation’s technology up to date. “MIMP has future-proofed our technology with a high performance network and predictable costs,” he said. “We are gaining a rapid return on our investment. In addition, we are very pleased with the support and service MIMP has delivered.”
For more information:
SA Heart Centres: www.sahc.com.au
MIMP connecting solutions is an Australian owned company whose total business focus is the supply, installation and support of high capacity wideband digital transmission systems in the competitive business communications market. Established in June 1985, MIMP connecting solutions has provided and installed in excess of 600 systems throughout Australia. Key clients include the Adelaide Zoo, SA Heart Centre, State and Local Governments, Education, Health, Defence, and large corporations.
MIMP connecting solutions is a flexible Adelaide based organisation with a country wide network of technicians trained to provide the best onsite and offsite support in the industry. Customers of MIMP connecting solutions reveal that they prefer to speak with competent technical people who can find real solutions quickly. This is what you will experience when you are a customer of MIMP connecting solutions. You will find it refreshing to deal directly with experts in the field.
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