It’s no secret that healthcare organizations were among those hit hardest during the early stages of the pandemic. From large hospital networks to senior care facilities, healthcare organizations were forced to adapt quickly while operating with limited resources and surging numbers of patients to care for.
Due to a reduction in the number of patients opting for elective surgeries during the pandemic, clinics saw a significant decrease in revenue from what is typically the most lucrative side of their business—adding to the burden of financial strain for many under-resourced organizations. While many businesses impacted by the pandemic were able to shift to fully remote operations, this was not feasible for the majority of healthcare providers, forcing them to pivot to a hybrid operation to ensure both staff and patient safety.
The importance of modernizing operations
One operational aspect of healthcare organizations that has remained constant is the focus on reducing costs and growing revenue. That’s why healthcare IT leaders are laser focused on making investments in modernized network solutions that streamline operational processes while keeping costs low.
Given the tumultuous environment and day-to-day uncertainty that healthcare organizations are forced to operate in, the need for flexible and scalable IT solutions has never been more important. If and when situations change, organizations need to adapt quickly while continuing to provide the highest levels of security and reliability.
Staying ahead of asset management
While facilities departments within healthcare organizations are often overlooked, they play a critical role in asset management and regulating operational costs. From physical infrastructures such as refrigeration and ventilation to monitoring oxygen tanks and gurneys, the costs associated with the use of these assets can have a major impact on an organization’s bottom line. Tracking mission-critical equipment, ensuring safety through asset audits, and preventative maintenance of equipment enables healthcare staff to provide better patient care and reduces deferred maintenance costs in the long term.
Running a (data) secure operation
Security and patient data privacy have always been a top concern for healthcare providers, and have been further prioritized since 2020 due to the significant number of breaches reported to the Department of Health and Human Services. Healthcare organizations need secure solutions that do not store end user data and can be deployed to create HIPAA-compliant IT infrastructures while protecting against security threats. The challenge of implementing sophisticated IT solutions comes down to budget constraints and the need for organizations to do more with less, but in reality, these types of investments save money in the long run—from HIPPA fines to lost revenue from exposed patient data.
As healthcare needs continue to evolve, organizations that are able to adapt quickly will be best positioned to succeed in the long term. To learn more about how to optimize healthcare IT operations, read our e-book, “Advancing Healthcare IT.”
It’s no secret that ubiquitous Wi-Fi is modernizing the world we live in across a number of different industries, ranging from retail and education to manufacturing and even healthcare. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals require the ability to be reached immediately when in the building for emergencies as well as the ability to quickly transmit information to colleagues so that patients are receiving the best treatment possible.
The healthcare industry is under a lot of pressure to stay current with the digital age and the need for rapid communication, so it makes sense that a key enabler to the modern day digital revolution is fast, reliable Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi has evolved from a simple means to connect without cables and check an email or browse a website to becoming the primary method for client devices to access network resources in most organizations.
In many workplace environments, Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi) calling is now a key communication method, and healthcare is at the forefront of leading industries to take advantage of VoWiFi solutions. In several hospitals, VoWiFi is the only way for a patient to communicate with a nurse. However, not every Wi-Fi solution is ready to support VoWiFi, especially in challenging environments such as hospitals where interference is prevalent and heavily attenuating walls (such as those found surrounding radiology labs), which stop Wi-Fi signals in their tracks, are present.
Healthcare institutions need Wi-Fi solutions that can stand up to harsh Wi-Fi environments to support VoWiFi calling and that work with a chosen and trusted provider of Wi-Fi calling and messaging. This is where Meraki and Ascom are the perfect prescription for healthcare organizations ailing from legacy communication systems!
Prescribing Fast, Reliable Wi-Fi With AscomAscom is a global solutions provider that focuses on healthcare data mobility solutions for customers around the globe. Their wireless handsets, which are used by doctors, nurses and administrative assistants, are renowned for their durability and reliability. Ascom phones are purpose-built for specific industries, including healthcare, with secure data messaging and instant communications as parts of the core feature suite.
Meraki and Ascom recently teamed up to undergo a series of interoperability tests (using Ascom’s popular i62 and Myco phones) to ensure that healthcare customers who are currently, or considering, using Meraki in their environment are fully capable of satisfying their voice and messaging needs using the WLAN. At the end of this testing, it was found that Meraki met all requirements to ensure that healthcare customers can reliably use Ascom phones with Meraki MR 802.11ac Wave 2 access points on the latest stable firmware release.
Meraki Wi-Fi, The Perfect Medicine for Configuration Headaches
Traditionally, designing a network for VoWiFi has been a tricky endeavor. After meticulous RF site surveys both before and after the wireless network deployment, network administrators must then turn the focus toward complex RF and WLAN configuration steps. This introduces loads of complexity, and plenty of opportunity for errors that can result in the WLAN performing suboptimally and causing communication problems among doctors, nurses and the patients that they are trying to support.
Thankfully, Meraki wireless is engineered with simplicity in mind. Administrators can follow our recommendations outlined in our Wireless Voice Deployment Guide and implement our guidance around radio settings, access control, and firewall & traffic shaping settings. Once these handful of configurations are completed, Meraki takes care of the rest by automatically implementing a variety of 802.11 amendments and features behind the scenes to fully optimize the environment for critical VoWiFi functionalities such as roaming and power savings.
A Healthy Network Is a Happy Network
With certified interoperability between Meraki MR access points and Ascom phones, combined with best practice default configurations in Meraki wireless pertaining to security, roaming, and quality of service, Meraki Wi-Fi is a perfect fit in healthcare environments. Especially when considering the new monitoring tools made available for all Meraki wireless networks with Wireless Health.
Meraki and Ascom have come together to show that both solutions complement one another and interoperate to provide a high performing, reliable VoWiFi service that healthcare organizations can leverage to bring the efficiency and rapid mobility that healthcare professionals require to support patients in the today’s digital healthcare facilities. Those that are interested may find these detailed interoperability reports between the Meraki MR 802.11ac Wave 2 APs and the Ascom i62 as well as the Ascom Myco.
The junction of big data and small medical devices is rapidly transforming the world of medicine. A new generation of sensors, from Apple Watches and Fitbit wristbands to home glucometers and blood pressure cuffs, gives consumers instant access to measures of their personal well-being. Since wearables and connected devices are making their way into regular practice, doctors, nurses, and other practitioners increasingly turn to big data to make sense of all this patient information. With more patient data available now than ever before, healthcare providers are seeing startling opportunities, but not without having to deal with a number of challenges. Security incidents, process challenges, architecture issues, limited correlation capabilities, and lack of threat visibility all plague healthcare providers. Migrating from an on-premises IT stack to cloud-managed IT is one way providers have found success in confronting these challenges head-on.
With Meraki cloud-managed IT, healthcare companies can scale technology rapidly across tens, hundreds, even thousands of hospitals and clinics, enabling them to digitally disrupt their operations for the better. Check out a webinar we hosted in collaboration with EPIC Management, L.P., to learn how Meraki customers:
Easily configure site-to-site VPN to connect remote branch locations securely
Manage computers across growing numbers of clinics
Provide support for Wi-Fi-dependent medical devices through segmented SSIDs
Liberty Behavioral Management operates both inpatient and outpatient facilities across New York state, providing rehabilitation and behavioral health services to adults and adolescents. In a special Meraki webinar on December 7th at 11AM PT, Chris Smith, CTO, shared his experience managing an entire network across 13 different sites with a lean IT team of two.
Over time, Liberty Behavioral Management’s network infrastructure became insufficient for their basic business needs. Smith would receive complaints that the Internet was too slow for web surfing or file sharing, or that there wasn’t enough bandwidth for hosted medical information systems. It was time to either increase their MPLS network speed or find an alternative solution. And when Smith was notified that increasing their MPLS usage would drive up costs, he knew he had to find a different option.
Smith looked for ease-of-use, data security features, and ways to improve site-to-site connectivity without increasing internet costs. Meraki fit the bill.
With Meraki MX Security Appliances, SD-WAN (that’s “software-defined WAN” for those who haven’t come across this acronym) enhanced existing internet connectivity at each of the branches by dynamically sending traffic between locations based on set policies, defined types of traffic, and optimal performance. By leveraging MPLS at the main hospitals and the MX SD-WAN capabilities for the branch sites, Liberty Behavioral management saved $1,127,170, or 76% of costs, over five years.
Stay tuned for a complete TCO Analysis and case study to learn how Liberty Behavioral Management deployed and saved with Meraki cloud-based solutions.
On November 16, 2016, at 11am PT, we hosted a live customer webinar with Fidell Wadsworth, Lead Network Engineer at CNOS, a healthcare organization operating in South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska.
Wadsworth shared his Cisco Meraki experience, from deploying and wiring the hardware to troubleshooting with the dashboard. As a full stack Meraki customer, Wadsworth has a unique perspective on how all the Meraki products integrate to form a single, centrally managed network.
The CNOS network spans 17 physical and satellite locations, supporting over 300 patients and guests each day, and over 36 healthcare providers and 200+ associates and physicians. Prior to Meraki, employees endured limited performance and consistent server issues. They were reliant on an old infrastructure that was pieced together with different IT solutions, making it difficult to troubleshoot and configure. Wadsworth and his lean team of 3 knew it was time for something more manageable, reliable, and secure.
“[When deciding which solution to go with] we proposed to the board that ‘if we want to solve problems quickly, if we want to get things fixed fast, we need to go with Meraki.’” – Fidell Wadsworth, Lead Network Engineer
In this webinar, you’ll hear directly from Wadsworth about:
Why CNOS chose Meraki over other networking solutions
How they deployed the entire network in 36 hours using Meraki cloud managed solutions
What it’s like to have the Meraki full stack, and how it impacts the business
How the team troubleshoots and configures the network with the Meraki dashboard
And much more!
Missed the CNOS webinar? No problem, find a link to the webinar recording here!
Last week, we had several great webinars highlighting Meraki products in action. From Retail to K-12 to Healthcare, we showed how you can use granular analytics to improve business, leverage your switches to do more for you, and gain six-figure cost savings with wireless and security appliances.
Enabling the Next Generation Retail Experience with Dynamic Analytics
Deep visibility into the users, devices, and applications on your network gives you insight into not only who is accessing your business’ network, but how they’re using it. We showed you some of the innovative ways you can create a smarter shopping experience by using your network to turn potential clients into loyal, repeat customers and improve customer experience.
Check out the video to learn how to increase conversion rates, drive store visits with targeted offers to mobile devices, increase foot traffic, integrate network sign-on with your CRM, and much more.
Your School’s Switch Should Do More Than Just Switch
Keep your school’s network ahead of the curve by making your switches work harder for you. In this webinar, we worked through many common problems that K-12 IT teams face daily and showed how simple they were to troubleshoot with Meraki’s intuitive cloud-managed switches.
Find out how you can easily monitor the use of your network, manage settings on the fly, and spend more time on what’s really important.
A Case Study: ABHOW’s Path to Six-Figure Savings
Chris Franks, Corporate Network Manager at American Baptist Homes of the West, shared his experiences easily managing a distributed network of 43 senior living communities across 4 states, supporting 5,000+ residents. With Meraki wireless APs and security appliances, Chris has created a more efficient and scalable network thanks to features like Layer 7 traffic analysis, site-to-site VPN, and WAN optimization.
See how simple it is for Chris to gain complete control over his network while he saves hundreds of thousands of dollars by replacing MPLS and using Meraki devices.