HealthMEDX Deploys Brocade Unified Campus Network to Advance Healthcare Technology Innovations

Healthcare technology is changing at a rapid pace and applications must adapt to the new regulations and government mandates that are transitioning a paper-based, manual industry into the electronic age. Missouri-based HealthMEDX, the leading provider of software for long-term care, home health and rehabilitation organizations, is helping its clients stay ahead of these technology requirements by providing end-to-end support for their business operations with Brocade® unified campus networking solutions for healthcare providers and organizations.

When the company's incumbent networking vendor could not deliver the scalability and simplicity that HealthMEDX required, it chose Brocade after undergoing a stringent assessment process. In addition to Brocade FCX Series and Brocade FastIron® WS Series Power over Ethernet (PoE) LAN switches, Brocade wireless LAN solutions are helping the company meet the security and privacy requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

"We were a Cisco shop and assumed we would be buying new Cisco gear," said Chris Bingham, vice president of infrastructure at HealthMEDX. "However, after extensive evaluation, we realized that Brocade solutions clearly enabled us to build our latest software faster, and deliver it to our customers that much sooner."

During the evaluation, one of the key objectives for HealthMEDX was unifying its wired and wireless LAN (WLAN) environments. The lines between wired and WLAN connectivity are merging quickly and use of wireless networking continues to grow, especially as mobile devices are becoming more prevalent in the workforce. According to a March 2011 report from analyst firm Gartner, "WLAN market growth will continue to be driven primarily by the penetration of the addressable market, as the global installed base of wireless-enabled devices used in enterprise WLANs grows by a yearly average of 32 percent from 2010 through 2015."(1)

Based on a positive experience with Brocade SAN solutions, which the company installed in 2009, HealthMEDX was eager to evaluate the Brocade unified campus network solutions.

The new Brocade unified campus network implemented at HealthMEDX is faster, improves efficiency and minimizes networking operations and capital expenses. This network also supports the company's Voice over IP (VoIP) service, and will pay for itself -- including capital and operational expenditures -- in an estimated 14 months.

HealthMEDX completed the network transition in less than six hours without any downtime or interruptions to users. With HIPAA-compliant security standards on its wireless network, preventing unauthorized user access and reducing the time needed to build and deploy new software packages to customers were key competitive advantages.

Due to security and privacy requirements outlined in HIPAA, Bingham and his team had to ensure that users could access only the parts of the network that were relevant to them. "We use virtual WLANs and firewalls to keep users only on the portions of the network where they are allowed," Bingham said. "We now have a more secure network with better performance and increased flexibility."

"A Brocade switch can push line-rate data through every port. I had huge Cisco chassis switches in my data center that can only push a fraction of the line rate. The ability to leverage the full throughput potential out of each port led us to move to Brocade for our overall IP infrastructure solutions and wireless LAN," said Bingham. "We are much more mobile now, so users can move locations without interruption. Based on this, we anticipate full ROI in just over one year."

In addition to all the mobility benefits of a WLAN network, it also allows organizations to quickly and cost efficiently expand network connectivity over an enterprise campus. This type of network design can significantly reduce total cost of ownership (TCO).

"Availability, performance and scalability -- those are things we are always trying to improve," said Bingham. "The entire Brocade deployment has been a real eye-opener for the company. The network is now easier to manage, and overall it's a better total cost of ownership for us."

About Brocade Unified Campus Networking for Healthcare

Brocade helps healthcare organizations align their business and IT objectives through a comprehensive family of networking solutions that:
  • Provides a campus foundation for unified communications through IPTV, wireless mobility and TeleHealth, enabling safe anytime, anywhere patient point of care
  • Combines higher efficiency and a more scalable infrastructure with high performance and port density to reduce real estate costs and power/cooling requirements
  • Reduces costs through energy efficiency and PoE capabilities that support the influx of new medical devices
  • Enables a converged solution that supports wired/wireless data, voice and video on a single, unified platform that offers clinicians continuous secure application connectivity
  • Provides a high-performance, non-blocking network to leverage new healthcare technology for greater patient intimacy and differentiated patient care