Comcast Business supports network performance of Oregon’s Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare

Feb. 28, 2017
Not-for-profit organization uses fiber-based Ethernet network to connect multiple sites.

Comcast Business announced that it has completed an installation of high-performance Ethernet and Internet services at Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare locations. The private, not-for-profit organization provides mental health and addiction treatment services to the residents of Multnomah, Clackamas, Lane, Washington, and Marion counties in Oregon.

Cascadia’s mission is to provide healing, homes, and hope for people living with mental health and addiction challenges. Over 15,000 consumers benefit from the organization’s many programs including medical services, mental health, wellness, and homelessness services. They also provide community development projects including housing outreach and treatment for addiction and gambling.

“This expansion not only benefits the individuals we serve in the greater Portland metropolitan area, but it also enables our 900 employees throughout the five counties to stay connected—which is no easy feat,” said Brandon Gatke, CIO and director of operations for Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare. “Each person we serve needs specialized, compassionate care. We are confident that we are better prepared to do this thanks to Comcast Business.”

The deployment allows Cascadia to quickly and securely share electronic health records (EHRs) and test results between its 65 locations at speeds up to 100 Mb/s as well as enable voice service powered by Comcast Business PRI Trunks. By being able to instantly share the most up-to-date information on each of their patients, treatment is made much more efficient and effective. Testing and diagnostics do not need to be repeated, an occurrence that often happens when care networks cannot share information, which is one of the many factors driving up the costs of healthcare. Comcast’s fiber-optic network provides scalable, dedicated Internet bandwidth for Cascadia’s staff, and an Ethernet private line delivers high-capacity private data transfers between the 65 locations and Cascadia’s data center.

“Cascadia’s unique business requires a technology infrastructure that provides secure, reliable networking that meets stringent healthcare regulatory and compliance information requirements,” says David Brown, regional vice president of Comcast Business. “We worked closely with their IT staff to understand those requirements and deliver a suite of services across all of their locations that enables them to meet those needs and, ultimately, provide a better experience for their customers.”

All of Comcast Business’ multi-Gigabit Ethernet services are delivered over a network that spans 20 of the nation’s top 30 markets. It includes more than 149,000 route miles of fiber-optic cable and more than 500,000 miles of an HFC plant that is in close proximity to hundreds of thousands of businesses and city locations. Comcast was the first service provider to offer Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) CE 2.0 certified Ethernet services and the first to achieve all three of the previous CE 1.0 certifications (MEF 9, 14, and 18).

Installing fiber-optic networking and Ethernet

Brian Klinger, Stragegic Ethernet Sales,
Comcast Business

Healthcare is rapidly becoming more and more digitalized to support EHRs, ultra-high-definition video, and other applications that require immense levels of bandwidth. It’s also becoming much more collaborative between providers, outside specialists, pharmacies, and other stakeholders to share patient records swiftly and securely. As a result, adopting a truly diverse fiber-optic network should be the goal for healthcare providers to support today’s applications and future innovations.

For any healthcare provider installing fiber into their facility, there are several considerations to be aware of. For new buildings, it is advantageous to put a conduit in the ground for a cable provider to provide fiber access. In existing facilities, particularly older ones, carriers prepare for the unexpected when pulling fiber through the conduit. In some cases, extra conduit must be placed into an older facility to meet wiring requirements. In turn, healthcare providers should expect additional internal wiring infrastructure costs to install the fiber. Be prepared to install a new chase way or new conduit wiring in this scenario.

From an outside plant perspective, sometimes a new conduit must be put in, trenching has to be done, and directional boring into the facility may be required because the conduits might be full due to an existing telecom carrier. With cable providers now established as a tried and true staple of broadband and fiber-optical connectivity for healthcare facilities, it is advantageous to install an additional conduit that’s separate from the traditional telecom conduit. Diversified entry points going into the facility are critical in case of any outage.

With healthcare providers reliant on the network for almost everything, downtime is non-negotiable. Hospitals are using the network for much more beyond X-ray images such as for neonatal care, surgical applications, heart monitoring information, and telemedicine purposes. Therefore, don’t put all the eggs in one basket—providers should be open to using multiple carriers and diversified entry points. Telecom diversity is very important in the infrastructure.

There are some considerations also depending on the size of the facility. For some small sized facilities, fiber or cable modem with DSL backup/T1 line would be appropriate. However, in a standard hospital setting, metro Ethernet solutions that run parallel to another telecom Ethernet solution are most appropriate. For any hospital that adopts metro Ethernet solutions, there must be a climate-controlled room for switching and equipment to reside in. Also, a battery back-up power supply to keep systems working for a few hours during an outage is essential.

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