Healthcare Technology Trends for 2013

As Hospital Mergers and Budget Cuts Spread, RGTS Provides Exceptional Opportunities to Enhance Communications Services, Increase Performance and Reduce Costs.

For hospital technology professionals, it’s an exceptionally challenging time to manage communications and IT infrastructure. Extensive new regulation, tighter budgets, and frequent organization mergers all converge to create tremendous new pressures.

Despite such constraints and pressures, chief technology officers must still keep their organizations current and competitive. They must be able to support new technology and applications, including secure, anywhere access to electronic medical records, patients’ personal health records, and ePrescribing, as well as to mHealth and machine-to-machine solutions, BYOD initiatives and cloud computing.

Because of healthcare’s many constraints, the industry lags behind in the adoption of web, cloud, and mobile solutions, relying primarily on server based systems that other industries have long eliminated. Although businesses and individuals everywhere can work, bank, and communicate wirelessly from any corner of the globe, it’s still rare when a doctor can send a patient’s chart to another doctor across town in a secure wireless environment.

Fortunately in 2013 there are also many opportunities to lower technology costs, raise performance, and increase services to improve patient care.

Taming Complex Challenges, Harnessing Opportunity

A hospital can achieve significant gains through a comprehensive redesign of its entire legacy communications system, or through a specific, narrow technology improvement project. The ultimate success of a given effort will depend on the expertise, independence, and care rendered by the professionals undertaking it. An example, outlined ahead, comes from the experience that New York City’s Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center has had with Rockefeller Group Technology Solutions (RGTS).

In the first decade following the 1984 breakup of AT&T, hospitals and healthcare organizations routinely achieved major cost and performance benefits by installing and maintaining their own private branch exchange (PBX) telephone switching systems.

But since the mid-1990s, communications systems everywhere have grown far richer and more complex with the creation and universal adaptation of the Word Wide Web and Internet email; wireless cell phones and then smartphones and tablets; high-bandwidth, fiber optic transport lines from multiple carriers; Internet Protocol and Voice over IP; and open non-proprietary technology standards.



As an independent communications service provider or CLEC (Competitive Local Exchange Carrier) formed in 1984, RGTS has extensive long-term experience designing, building, and managing communications networks based on equipment from virtually all the major manufacturers. RGTS also has extensive experience with technology systems built around non-proprietary open standards, such as its VoIP services, and widespread expertise in multisite integration, colocation, cable infrastructure, managed services, and secure cloud solutions.

RGTS’s engineers know intimately the strengths and limitations of these systems, and their evolution over time. They are also vendor agnostic, possessing the independence and freedom to evaluate the relative merits of new technologies, equipment, and integration solutions, regardless of manufacturer or carrier.

A Bronx-Lebanon Tale: Dramatic Cost Reductions & Performance Gains

RGTS designed and installed an advanced comprehensive voice and MPLS communications network in late 2012 to replace the aging phone equipment of Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, one of New York City’s largest outpatient hospitals. Bronx-Lebanon has 972 hospital beds, more than 4,000 employees, two primary locations, and 19 remote facilities in the Bronx.

Bronx-Lebanon determined that among the respondents to its request for proposals, RGTS offered the best solution and the highest level of service at the lowest cost.

“There were a number of service providers that were qualified and willing to pursue the challenge of upgrading our system,” said Sharon Thompson, Telecom Director at Bronx-Lebanon. “We chose RGTS because of their expertise in our technical requirements and our service expectations, specifically the ability to design a single system that integrates all of our 21 locations.”

For this large project with multiple locations, RGTS designed an advanced Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) infrastructure carefully tailored to meet each of Bronx-Lebanon’s performance and cost requirements. MPLS is a highly scalable technology that creates end-to-end circuits across any type of transport medium, using any protocol. RGTS will provide ongoing monitoring and servicing of the new system for the next 10 years.

“The system RGTS installed for us provides a new generation of performance and fault tolerant reliability, which is critical for acute care facilities,” said Ms. Thompson. “We have a technology infrastructure in place that will not only allow our doctors, nurses and administrative staff to work more efficiently, but will allow them to provide our patients with an even higher-quality level of service.”



Bronx-Lebanon’s communications needs could have been approached in a variety of ways. RGTS’s client solution approach is in marked contrast to those offered by product specific manufacturers, carriers, and service providers. The RGTS approach was to first analyze Bronx-Lebanon’s specific requirements, priorities, and operating circumstances, and then design a multisite network solution tailored to achieve all short and long term goals across the client’s healthcare system. RGTS provides a tailored, flexible solution – encompassing services, management, and maintenance – that can grow with the client’s needs.

Healthcare Communications Expertise at RGTS

Although enterprises across all industries benefit from RGTS’s client focused approach, hospitals in particular gain from the extensive expertise RGTS has accumulated in co-locations, multisite integration, and enterprise-wide security.

Several senior RGTS executives share more than 60 years of experience in healthcare communications and information technology. That experience includes HIPAA-compliant mobile platforms and mHealth applications, more than 20 years in healthcare account management with leading ILEC service carriers, and solution development with multiple technology companies serving the healthcare markets. RGTS is also a gold member of HIMSS, the Healthcare Management Information Systems Society.

Pressures & Opportunities to Reduce Costs

With so much merger and acquisition activity today, hospital CIOs face increasing responsibility to manage legacy technology, lower costs, and improve support for patient services.

Usually there are many places within a hospital’s technology infrastructure where costs and performance can be improved. Some improvements are easier to achieve than others. Because of its specialized expertise, RGTS can help hospitals and healthcare organizations identify and seize the best improvement opportunities available in their particular circumstances.

One approach to help ensure cost efficiency is to audit a healthcare organization’s carrier services every three years. Because an organization’s service usage and requirements change over time and technology evolves continuously, a periodic service audit will often identify major gains to be realized.

Another cost reduction approach is managed services, which RGTS provides in widely varying forms. Each form is tailored to the specific preferences of the individual client.

By opting to lease new equipment from RGTS rather than buy it, a healthcare organization can avoid large upfront capital outlays in favor of steady, predictable service costs over time.

Solutions Tailored for the Each Organization

Through its independent, customer-centered approach, RGTS examines all the approaches outlined above to recommend the solutions best suited to the individual customer. RGTS is one of the few technology companies today that still provides the exceptional “white-glove” level of customer service – which many major carriers have abandoned in favor of high volume, product specific sales.

 

To learn more about RGTS and its services for healthcare organizations, visit rgts.com/healthcare or contact Alan Stern, Director of Business Development and Strategic Alliances, at 212-282-2484 or astern@rgts.com.

 

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