Cardioinfantil Foundation Improves Its Network Infrastructure with Extreme Networks

Introduction

The Cardioinfantil Foundation Cardiology Institute of Colombia is a private, non-profit medical facility founded in 1973 in the City of Bogotá, Colombia. The institution was established to provide care for low economic and disadvantaged children with cardiovascular problems. It offers focused health services with a high level of specialization, technology, and human care. Due to the extent of cardiac conditions, not only in children but in all age groups, an Institute of Cardiology was created in 1993 to expand treatment in this field to patients of all ages, with a total of 51 medical- surgical specialties.

Approximately one million visitors are hosted by the institute each year. On a monthly basis, they provide medical care to an average of 1,200 hospitalized patients, 10,000 urgent consultations, 15,000 specialized outpatient visits, about 12,000 diagnostic tests, more than 80,000 laboratory tests, and more than 8,600 surgeries a year (including 1,200 heart surgeries), making it one of the most important fourth-level medical complexes in Colombia and Latin America.

This medical institution is accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI) and holds additional national and international accreditations and acknowledgments.

Cardioinfantil Foundation Network

The institution’s wired/wireless network serves 1,800 employees using voice and data services across 9 buildings. The network also provides Internet access to more than 3,000 users every day, including patients, visitors, and doctors.

“The entire LAN and wireless network was provided by Extreme Networks as our primary partner in networking. We complement our internal communications with other partners or integrators, but all systems run on Extreme’s equipment infrastructure”, said Engineer Álvaro Sossa, system director of the Cardioinfantil Foundation of Colombia.

As a provider of health services, the network handles all the information in regards to doctors, patients, electronic clinical record, and administrative processes. A large amount of data is generated by each action internally and externally of the medical divisions.

A critical element for operating the institution is the handling of patients’ medical history and administrative processes by the central information system. Documented reports of patients are generated and updated internally. These include: management and image sequences, laboratory studies, digital medical images, applications, and dispatch of diagnoses, to name a few. Today connectivity is key. Since projects are managed by interdisciplinary teams, a robust network platform is needed to connect and share information.

Videoconferencing systems, voice over IP, and other complementary services, demand a reliable network, with low latency, and high scalability. The task of information management rests with the central information system with about 800 daily users. complemented by other specialized systems for imaging, order processing, dispensing of medicines, administration of drugs through mobility, document management, and data mining among others.

Other specialized systems used by departments, including the clinical laboratory, blood bank, pathology, and cardiovascular information system, also require a reliable, secure, stable, robust, and fast network infrastructure.

Challenges Prior to Extreme Networks

Prior to the installation of the Extreme Networks solution, the network infrastructure was limited in scope and capacity and composed mainly of equipment from various manufacturers. Growing problems in network management and exponential growth of the institution over the last eight years led to the decision to drastically improve the network infrastructure with a long-term vision.

The ideal vendor for the Cardioinfantil Foundation Cardiology Institute was one with the capacity, technological capabilities, and experience in the health sector. This would guarantee a smooth network upgrade. At the time, Extreme Networks was not a recognized manufacturer in Colombia. However, after a long, thorough comparative analysis against other competitors and its strong and recurring presence in the Gartner Magic Quadrant, the institute was certain Extreme would be up to the challenge and could handle their future network challenges.

The transformation started with the installation of wired switches and wireless access points. Over time, additional Extreme Networks’ solutions expanded to the institute’s other areas of the network and communications.

One of the decision factors to choose Extreme Networks was the multiple success stories, especially in the United States. Experience showed the institution that Extreme was as prepared as any of the other competitors. During the comparative analysis between competitors, Extreme Networks stood out for its technology benefits unmatched by competitors, unless accompanied by a large increase in cost.

The outstanding work done from day one naturally led to additional projects, such as the refresh of IP telephone systems. The institute went on to use Extreme Networks in each project that involved the integration of new technological elements to the network infrastructure. Extreme Networks enabled the institute to take full advantage of the bandwidth, technology, and experience of all staff to achieve the goals within the set timeframe.

“For the wireless network, we were able to simplify network management. In the past, the network regularly dropped, or if someone connected to an IP, it could be lost or have moments of total disconnection. Situations like this were common before the arrival of Extreme Networks. Today we experience no flaws, which allows us to analyze new technology and map ambitious new network projects, which can safely be implemented with Extreme Networks”, said Engineer Álvaro Sossa of Cardioinfantil Foundation.

The Experience of Working with Extreme Networks

Extreme Networks has proven to be a technology partner with enough experience and compassion to provide tailor- made solutions for the institutions network over their 4-year relationship. In addition, working with Technology Solutions Provider (TSP), Extreme Networks’ partner in Colombia, allowed Álvaro Sossa’s team to address new technology opportunities during the implementation process without problem and always faster than expected.

“I think it has been one of the few enjoyable experiences during a network infrastructure refresh where one can say: I feel assured to have chosen Extreme Networks because we have immediate support in every way and at all times. It has been an excellent experience for me and my team to have total support not only from Extreme Networks, but also from TSP, who have also given us all the necessary support, especially in helping to protect our network from future challenges. That speaks very well of true business partners of the institution”, said Engineer Sossa.

Benefits Achieved with Extreme Networks

The benefits achieved for the information technology staff include: easy and reliable device management, monitoring, and security. The solution provides certainty at each stage of implementation and integration.

The efficiency of network administration has radically increased, as well as the capacity to handle internal and external contingencies on the network. No matter how many applications, systems, or devices are added to the network, it adapts easily. Each new element, technology, device, and system integrated into the network infrastructure poses an additional challenge, for which the institution is fully prepared.

Cardioinfantil Foundation Preparation for the Future

The growing demand for faster devices and networks by users within health institutions highlights the need to fully understand the capabilities of network infrastructure to be prepared to provide a secure future for medical specialists and patients.

The staff of this prestigious institution is more efficient today given the performance and flexibility provided by their consistent, solid network infrastructure. They no longer rely on obsolescent connections to review and share information.

For the Cardioinfantil Foundation, the cloud is a technology that is attracting attention due to the speed and efficiency that it can provide. Relying less on a traditional data center to migrate to a private, public, or hybrid cloud scheme is undoubtedly in their future. Having more data and services in the cloud holds possibilities, ensuring internal and external communications to enable doctors working in more critical areas to respond flexibly and quickly.

The institutions four pillars are assistance, teaching, research, and solidarity. Extreme Networks helps support these pillars with its impactful technology and solutions.

The challenges in mobility, analytics, systems, electronic clinical history, development of new projects, new business models, academic alliances, social responsibility programs, telepresence, productivity, and efficiency in general require connectivity and solid infrastructure for decision making in an agile way to be able to develop the institution’s mission and vision and to fulfill its strategic planning.

Internet of Medical Things

In terms of technological trends, Cardioinfantil Foundation of Colombia recognizes the challenges that accompany the expanding Internet of Things. The goal for the systems area, which is part of the Innovation and Planning Division, is to map out scenarios that anticipate the increases use of networked devices and the Internet and the volume of data they will generate.

From the point of view of remote monitoring, the institutions’ devices, biomedical equipment, and clinical elements are conceptualized for total integration and interoperability. Currently the information technology of the institution deals with clinical history, as well as updating institutional information systems and infrastructure. The Internet of Things is one of the institution’s topics to plunge into in the future near. “We have to be prepared and respond quickly to the changes that are constantly occurring. We cannot avoid the fact that the world is hyperconnected and that sooner rather than later the demand for large volumes of decision-making information and excellence in medical practice will become important challenges.” said Engineer Alvaro Sossa.

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