MARY McClellan HOSPITAL and Skilled Nursing Facility
(MMH), the only hospital in Upstate New York's Washington County,
serves approximately 70,000 people from neighboring communities.
Like many hospitals in rural, remote areas, MMH needed to find
economical solutions to fundamental issues involving patient care
and staff training.
MMH approached the Adirondack Area
Network (AAN) and NEC BNS with specific goals: to improve MMH's
ability to recruit, retain, and train specialty physicians, and
provide its family health centers with better access to medical
expertise so that patients could be treated closer to home.
"Our vision is to transport patient information, not the
patient," says Suzanne LeRoy, director of information systems
at MMH. "This vision also includes a desire for all the remote
sites to appear and feel like they are one campus. Physicians want
to be part of a larger network, and the connectivity between our
off-site locations and the main hospital will help MMH's physician
recruitment and retention," says LeRoy.
NEC BNS and
the AAN responded with a converged voice, video, and data solution
to introduce telemedicine, videoconferencing, and distance learning
between MMH and its family health centers. Using technologies from
NEC, Cisco Systems, RadVision, and the AAN permanent virtual
circuits (PVCs) were installed through AAN's frame relay cloud that
allows MMH to eliminate the point-to-point connections to the family
health centers and other AAN members. Significant ongoing cost
savings are realized using these technologies.
||To prove the concept design, MMH
and AAN called for a stress test involving eight simultaneous voice
conversations, data transmissions, and a video conference call
across the AAN frame relay connections. During the test, one of the
evaluators asked Dave Gauthier, senior system engineer with NEC BNS,
when he would begin the voice compression. He replied, "The
compression has been in effect since the phone call was initiated."
This verified that
MMH's NEC 1000 IVS and the Cisco 3810 voice gateway delivers
high-quality, transparent voice services from the hospital to a
remote site using AAN's T1 frame relay (VoFR). It also verified the
proper operation of the Common Channel Interoffice Signaling (CCIS)
protocol with the Cisco 3810 to deliver full PBX feature
transparency. CCIS is the internodal network architecture that NEC
uses to provide feature transparency, centralized voice messaging,
centralized call accounting, centralized administration, and
standalone survivability. Features successfully tested include
three-and four-digit dialing, call transfer, call forward, three-way
calling, number display, name display, message-waiting lamp, voice
calling, SMDR, and centralized voice mail.
is now adding AAN connections to three of its family centers to
offer more training for its medical staff, increase the hospital's
efficiency and competitiveness, and heighten the hospital's
visibility in the community. HeaIthcare Communicator will revisit
MMH to provide an in-depth look at the network when it's fully
operational. The article will explore the challenges of implementing
MMH's vision of a single-campus feeling in a rural setting.