SD-WAN: Just What The Doctor Ordered

Healthcare is an enormous industry in the U.S., accounting for more than one-sixth of the country’s GDP, according to official estimates from the National Health Expenditure Accounts. At this size, it is entangled with literally millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in annual spending. The stakes are accordingly high for ensuring that care providers, patients and their families have access to the most reliable, adaptable and secure network connectivity possible. However, the health field faces unique challenges that complicate this goal.

Why enterprise networking in healthcare is so demanding

There are essentially three major requirements that have come to the fore front for healthcare network admins in recent years:

  • Meeting regulatory obligations: Legislation such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in the U.S. specifies that healthcare providers must shield protected health information from unauthorized parties, either by using encryption or ensuring that the original storage media are destroyed. Moreover, HIPAA requires that medical records be subject to a disaster recovery and backup plan.
  • Preserving performance for growing amounts of data: Digital filing systems are becoming the norm for healthcare providers. X-rays, images and medical records are now routinely transmitted across WANs, along with live video of surgeries in some cases. VoIP is also an increasingly important service for 911 providers. The network must provide the bandwidth and traffic prioritization to ensure that these apps can perform at acceptable levels.
  • Working within volatile budgets and expenses: Hospitals, clinics and other healthcare organizations are always looking for ways to keep their expenses in check. Rising costs – for example, labor and personnel have absorbed half of all hospital costs since 2006 – have led to the progressive consolidation of the not-for-profit health industry. Upgrading to modern networking technology presents another opportunity for savings.

What is the best way to tackle all of these requirements? A single software defined solution such as an SD-WAN can ensure the network resiliency, scalability and cost-effectiveness that today’s healthcare providers now expect.

SD-WAN case study: Remaking 911 services

Having backups is essential on any healthcare network, which is why the redundancy provided by an SD-WAN is such an asset for everyone from medical records offices to 911 dispatches. Maricopa Region 911 implemented an SD-WAN solution to handle its 2 million plus calls per year, many of them made via VoIP. The new system allowed for much more seamless failover than the previous one, which had relied on Frame Relay with IPsec VPN as the backup.

911 dispatch benefits greatly from SD-WAN.
911 dispatch benefits greatly from SD-WAN.

Plus, with the quality-based routing provided by the Talari Networks SD-WAN, Maricopa Region 911 was able to free call centers from having to make their own server backups. Live 911 traffic and backups could be mixed on the same network thanks to built-in Quality of Service as well as intelligent link aggregation.

“With Talari, we’re able to prioritize traffic so that we can have active 911 calls, 911 mapping data and server backup over the network at the same time,” explained Dave Dansevicus, administrator of 911 integrated systems for Maricopa region 911. “Talari handles it flawlessly.”

” Live 911 traffic and backups could be mixed on an SD-WAN.”

To read more about the use of SD-WAN for 911 throughout Arizona, be sure to check out the Maricopa case study. Contact Talari Networks today for a custom demonstration of industry-leading SD-WAN technology for healthcare.

Categories: Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN), Application Performance/Application Quality, Network Reliability