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New Network for Hospital Setting

By rschling ·
Hello, I am currently in the processess of helping to design a network for the (small) hospital I work in. I was hoping some of you might be willing to give some tips/ideas on what we need to look into for building a brand new network.

I am suggesting we look into gigabit ethernet, and utilize a server for controlling access to the network. (I am leaning on going with win 2003 server, but only because I am familiar with windows, and have never used any other product.)

Any hint's, tips, or suggestions for making a secure, yet easy to use network ?????

Rob

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Scope of work

by road-dog In reply to New Network for Hospital ...

Our community hospital just implemented a new network.

They combined the voice and data using Cisco products and IP phones.

I was only peripherally involved, but I do know they saved a bundle by eliminating the main PBX. The MDF to IDF links are all fiber carrying meshed gig links. Different suborganizations are separated by VLAN with IP ranges assigned for data and voice.

All of these factors are involved in the decisionmaking process. Don't get bogged down in the technical details until the organizational (business) requirements are defined. After getting the overview, get the 6/12/18/18+ month plans from the client & server departments. Identify teleradiology and telecardiology plans. Get a count on remote clinics and offsite assets.

There is a lot of legwork to be done before vendor and product selection begins. Be a hero and design something that will support projected and unplanned future requirements.

Plan for wish list items, such as wireless access for doctor's laptops, Security cameras via IP, and Internet access for patients.

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Thanks for insight

by rschling In reply to Scope of work

I am trying to convince the powers that be (administration) to implement a gigibit network using cat6 cable. I had thought about trying to use fiber optic for a backbone, but we only have 1 hallway that is over 200ft long.
I am also suggesting that we set up a single server to use as a gateway for internet access, and to maintain updates on all machines (antivirus, critical MS updates, etc).

We already are using a separate system for teleradiology, but I would like to see us connect it to the hospital network to possibly give the docs the ability to view images at other locations besides the radiology dept (i.e. surgery?) Also, I would like to see the hospital build the backup system for the tele-radiology into the one for the whole hospital, I think it may be better to get one good backup system for the whole building than separate systems for each individual department.

How about server solutions? and maintenance solutions Any Ideas there too?

Thanks

Rob

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Do a plan

by preston_terrell In reply to New Network for Hospital ...

Whats your budget,

Who's going to support it

What systems can they support today?

What key features does management want, is IP phones, why?

Grab the key functionality, thats required, then look at your budget, then shop. Don't be afraid to look at Linux either, it will save you a boatload.

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Brand new network?

by pgm554 In reply to New Network for Hospital ...

You need to define the problem of what you want accomplish with the new network.
Questions need to be asked like:
1.Budget?(#1 consideration)
2.Do we need to keep legacy apps?
3.Are you going to rip and replace?
4.What is the ROI?
5.Long term /short term goals?

Your question is very open ended and best ways are very subjective to politics and budget.

I have been involved with major upgrades at major hospitials(Can you say Children's Hospitial of Pittsburgh?)Everybody has an agenda,from the Dr's on the hospital board to the IT staff.
Trying to do this stuff in house can be a disaster(or at least frustrating).I would advise to bring in an independent consulting firm with no agenda.
You might be better off.

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Gigabit is good idea - and more

by JimHM In reply to New Network for Hospital ...

Sounds like an interesting project - and sounds like your using all your resources to develop a sound plan.

My suggestions -

CISCO for all router and hub needs - Excellent products and services - and good security.

VoIP - this will save thousands in PBX and wiring costs. CISCO has an excellent VoIP product, but it needs to run on high bandwidth network because of the addition traffic - which can not have lost or delayed packetts.

Copper Cat 5/6 or Fiber to every room or Bed including ER, OR, Labs, Xray, Phy-therapy etc. Personally I would run the Fiber over copper - no interference from equipment in the hospital.

Include a wireless network - this is a ramping up wave in the medical field. Doctors carrying PDA's and are connect to the hospital network - writing orders - and reviewing medical tests is just the beginning. (Wireless bandwidth is getting faster)

Plan for the future of Network monitored beds (were the bed monitors the pt's vital signs), or display screens at each bed with Pt's information and doctors orders. Gigbit into the ER / OR and labs so that - scans, labs, xrays can be digitally recorded and transmitted anywhere in the hospital.

Good luck let us know how it goes...

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Keep Perspective

by Oldefar In reply to New Network for Hospital ...

The network will be a tool for the hospital. I am sure you have heard about using the right tool for the job. Knowing the business requirements is how you insure that the network is designed to be the right tool for the job.

A couple of things related to the unique hospital environment do come to mind. Fiber optics will let you run the network and power connections together in a common sheath, which will improve safety with medical equipment. Less of a tripping hazard, less chance of accidental disconnect. Some medical devices radiate interference, so optics again become a more reliable choice for station connectivity.

While VoIP may save costs, do a telecom optimization before calculating the ROI. Telcos are notorious for billing errors and for not providing their lowest rates to existing customers as rates change. A 50% or better reduction in telecom charges through a billing review and optimization plan would not be a surprize. Also, PBX vendors have not been immune to the competitive pressures of VoIP and an upgrade that reduces costs and improves features may very well be available. Again, know the business requirements before selecting the right tool.

Hospitals are another area that, like some process control systems, have to consider the immediate life-threatening consequence of failure. This may mean an architecture outside of normal business parameters is called for. Use care in defining your technical requirements.

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Ideas...

by dnvrtechgrrl In reply to New Network for Hospital ...

I don't know if this will be very helpful or not.
We didn't even implement a server until after the network was in place. And it's a VERY basic network. We have so many IP's alloted to us, and everyone is on DHCP connection. One router, two switches and a firewall. We are on a standard T1 running a 700+ something connection. (We have less than 40 users.) Mail is set up thru the main server out in Chicago. It's not something we have to handle on site. The server isn't set up for anything other than file sharing. We don't really have the need at the moment. I attempted to, at one point, go ahead and activate Active Directory, though we don't utilize roaming profiles and only four people need access to file sharing. Needless to say, the server went back to a standard set-up.

Our other two satellite offices are being "guinea-pigged" with a dsl network. We are finding that the vpn routers keep bottoming out on us though. Eventually they will probaby end up on a T1 as well.

Hope this helps.

Secure, make sure everyone has their own desktops and no one who doesn't need it has administrator privlege. Maintain a firewall. Don't implement anything the users won't understand or operate efficiently.

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