Ease of deployment accelerated transformation across multi-site hospital network
Common SSIDs between properties enables immediate connection and authorisation for staff
Guest Wi-Fi experience dramatically improved through elimination of manual IT process
Established in 2000 and headquartered in Bengaluru, India, Narayana Hrudayalaya (also known as Narayana Health or NH) is one of India’s largest hospital networks, operating 21 hospitals across the country. Providing advanced levels of care in over 30 specialties, Narayana is committed to delivering affordable, high-quality healthcare services to a broad population by leveraging its economies of scale, skilled doctors, and an efficient business model.
As Narayana Health continued to expand its footprint and bring new hospitals into the fold, it became clear that its existing network and IT infrastructure was not capable of meeting the requirements of an organisation of its size and complexity. As a result, Narayana Health’s IT team kicked off a multi-year IT transformation project which began with a comprehensive assessment of all aspects of the company’s infrastructure across all facilities.
The assessment uncovered some key shortcomings that were contributing to various application and network performance issues plaguing the hospital staff. For instance, the company lacked a standardised network architecture across its facilities, and many were relying on outdated networking equipment designed for smaller, less complex organisations.
In many of the group’s hospitals, poor network connectivity, especially between floors, was a serious issue that was hampering communication and efficiency. It was clear from these and other findings that Narayana Health’s existing network infrastructure needed to undergo a major transformation to be able to meet the constantly evolving needs of its staff and, most importantly, enable it to deliver an optimal patient care experience.
Seeing a clear trend in the healthcare industry towards the rapid adoption of digital applications and technologies, Narayana realised its own digital transformation would need to be built on a strong network foundation, one that would provide the highest levels of performance, reliability, predictability, and security. After evaluating several competing options, the company selected Cisco Meraki MS and MR as its switching and campus wireless solution, as the combination was the best at meeting Narayana Health’s evolving requirements across all of its properties.
“Cisco Meraki was the natural choice for us. Trust, integrity, and customer service: when I think of Cisco, these are the three qualities that come to mind.”
Group CIO at Narayana Health
In addition to meeting the company’s technical requirements, the Meraki solution was also economical, which is vitally important for an organisation that is committed to providing affordable care to its patients. Once the decision was made, Narayana Health worked in close consultation with the Meraki Solutions team to design the organisation’s new network architecture and create a deployment model that would be repeatable across all of its properties. The company then selected one of its smaller hospitals for the initial deployment of the solution. This approach enabled Narayana Health’s IT team to fine-tune the installation and deployment process so it could be easily replicated for each additional site.
Ease of installation was a key benefit for Narayana Health. “The Cisco Meraki platform is plug-and-play,” says Kumar. “As soon as the switch comes online, it’s visible in the Meraki dashboard and policies can be enforced immediately.” The dashboard also makes it simple for Narayana’s IT team to manage and monitor the system across all of Narayana’s hospitals, reducing operations costs and freeing up IT resources.
Network security was another essential requirement for Narayana Health, and one where the Meraki solution stood out. As part of the Cisco ecosystem, the Meraki switching and wireless platform can be easily and seamlessly integrated with the Cisco portfolio of security tools, providing Narayana with a unified end-to-end view of all activity in the network.
Narayana Health was looking for a switching and wireless solution that could be deployed rapidly, with an initial target of 10 to 15 months. Despite the scope and complexity of the project, the Meraki solution was successfully deployed across all of its 21 facilities in just nine months.
For Narayana Health’s end users, the improvements to the user experience are significant. As staff members travel between hospitals, they no longer have to connect to the network manually. Thanks to Meraki MRs, all of the company’s properties now share a common SSID. This means that whenever a staff member enters any of Narayana Health’s hospitals, they are immediately connected to the Wi-Fi network and authorised on directory services, providing a seamless user experience. Guest users enjoy a similar experience. The IT department no longer needs to manually provide guests with an SSID and password. Instead, they are automatically given a time-based login credential that is only active while they are on site.
In addition to dramatic user experience improvements, the solution also provides Narayana Health the highest levels of enterprise-grade reliability, availability, performance, and security. For an organisation that continues to grow rapidly while performing life-critical work—including several procedures and surgeries every day—this transformation is crucial to the ongoing success of its business and the health and wellbeing of its patients.