Connectivity in Healthcare: When Precision Is a Matter of Life and Death

What happens when an entire medical system needs a network overhaul without skipping a beat?

The Need: Baptist Health needed a more reliable network that could help them provide best-of care to their patients.

Our Response: LEK answered the call by identifying and installing a more advanced network. We used our planning and expertise to run the operation smoothly with near zero downtime, which was of utmost importance for a hospital system.

At LEK, we pride ourselves on working with some of the best names in the industry. And for our heroes working in health care, we want to answer their technology needs so that staff can care for their patients as quickly and effectively as possible.

That’s why we upgraded the network for Baptist Health, providing a new, better network. For this project, we worked in partnership with Cisco and Cerner to overhaul the network for six care facilities and nine imaging centers.

Diagnosing the Needs

Baptist Health purchased new software and equipment, but later found it would not run on their old network. They needed a network that could handle their new electronic record keeping, patient monitors, handheld scanners allocating patient medications, and mobile devices. The hospital system also needed newer technology to properly care for patients, such as glucometers, wireless infusion pumps, or telemetry. These new devices couldn’t run on the old network.

Baptist Health likewise wanted to introduce smartphone communications solutions such as HIPAA compliant communication, alarm management, and alerts on smartphones, all of which required a faster, more reliable network. And the old network was spotty, slow, and unreliable.

The Challenges

Due to the intricate nature of healthcare, especially hospitals, it was vital that the entire facility stay running throughout the entire migration. Operating such a massive network changeover in the healthcare industry required maintaining critical systems with virtually no interruption.

The wide-scale operation required extensive coordination to retain data and restart, especially between third party networks like cardiac monitoring and neonatal systems.

The Process​​​​​​​

· LEK installed 15,000 feet of fiber optic cable and 50,000 feet of Cat6e Ethernet cable.

· We successfully migrated 15 facilities within the healthcare system, configured 120 wiring closets, and upgraded two data centers. Our IT team also set up new security appliances, migrated more than 300 network switches, and put in over 1200 new wireless access points.

· We spent 18 months of planning and preparation to ensure the execution happened in some facilities in mere minutes.

· Our team operated with dexterity and expertise so that all facilities continued to experience connectivity throughout the cutover, with near zero downtime.

The Result

Throughout the migration, none of the staff experienced disruption or even noticed the change. The new network is secure, reliable, and available when it’s needed. Performance is now 1200 percent faster, with no more outages or dropped sessions. A faster network means staff can get connected, read test results, and get answers and care they need for patients quicker, instead of focusing on the frustrations of a faulty network. Patients can now communicate better with family and friends outside their room via the guest network.

The new network is vital to patients whose care depends on the network being there for them. LEK was proud to help our central Alabama hospital system, as they serve and support patients in our community.​​​​​​​