SD-WAN is quickly becoming the go-to technology to facilitate the digital transformation of legacy networks. Its cloud-delivered architecture, fast deployment time, flexibility and agility, and its ability to enable consistent and uninterrupted access to cloud-based applications and systems is changing the way companies do business today. While all verticals are well served by SD-WAN and have consistent usages, each has unique characteristics. In this blog, we highlight the significance of SD-WAN in the healthcare vertical via a customer case study.
Healthcare is heavily regulated with numerous laws in place to ensure the protection of the patient. Healthcare providers must adhere to these regulations or face stiff penalties or expulsion if found in violation. But how does SD-WAN help practitioners deliver excellent care and ensure that they stay in regulatory compliance?
An important consideration is the evolution that has occurred in the management of patient records. HIPAA requires that in order for a healthcare provider to see or treat a patient, the provider must have real-time access to patient records. “Back in the day” records were maintained in hardcopy form, often stored in a back-office. With the advent of cheaper storage, facilities transitioned the patient records to electronic storage, either maintaining them on a local hard drive or, in the case of multi-site healthcare facilities, transferring them to a central data center where the records could be accessed by any of the connected facilities. Finally, today, nearly every healthcare provider is shifting the storage of patient records to the cloud.
In our cloud-enabled networking world, cloud-based applications are becoming the norm. But with healthcare, ensuring that patient records are consistently available with no downtime so that patients can be treated, facilities must ensure that their connections to the cloud are seamless. This can prove difficult if the transport mechanism is standard broadband with basic SLAs in place. The risk is high that outages will impair the ability to treat patients. Healthcare needs a better solution.
Enter: SD-WAN. SD-WAN provides the fabric that connects cloud applications and cloud-stored patient records to every connected healthcare facility or office, to hospitals, to data centers. It also optimizes the delivery of data across all the connections, increasing bandwidth, and ensuring constant connectivity by eliminating the occurrence of brownouts or blackouts.
In our case study, Low T Center was a visionary in adopting VeloCloud SD-WAN throughout its 57 locations, connecting those facilities to AWS-stored records, and ensuring that healthcare providers could treat their customers at all times. Violation of healthcare guidelines and HIPAA requirements is expensive and could potentially cause the shutdown of Low T Center. Those guidelines stipulate that in order for Low T Center to be able to treat any given patient, it must have uninterrupted access to that patient’s records. If access to the records are not accessible, then the patient cannot be seen or assessed.
What Low T Center discovered with its legacy network was that the network linkages were regularly causing brownout scenarios where the primary line was not working well (either due to latency or jitter) and it would impact all the applications accessed by users, diminishing the overall experience. The installed firewalls were not intelligent enough to assess the quality of primary link and failover to a secondary connection, even if that secondary connection was cleaner than the primary. A full blackout was the only trigger for the failover.
The full deployment of VeloCloud SD-WAN included spinning up a VeloCloud Orchestrator, which centrally manages and monitors all network behavior as well as allows all configuration changes to be performed and executed from a single point. In addition, VeloCloud Edges were installed at each location on the network, enabling the connection of that location to all nodes on the network, the VeloCloud Orchestrator and cloud applications. Two broadband links were installed at each site to support failover requirements.
Following the deployment of VeloCloud SD-WAN, Low T Center was able to:
- Ensures ability to treat patients at all times
- Future-proof its next-generation care solution powered by new AWS HIPAA cloud computing services and other long-term projects
- Support for new voice platform with stellar QoS
- Fast and seamless solution deployment
- Continuous visibility and visualization of network performance