Success Story: SUNBRIDGE HEALTHCARE
“Having a reliable wireless service is a huge benefit for us in terms of our customers’ confidence in the care services we provide.”
– Kevin O’Connell, VP of Specialty Services, SunBridge Healthcare
SunBridge Healthcare operates more than 200 skilled nursing, independent living, hospice, and other care facilities across the U.S. More than 20 centers focus on short-term rehabilitation and recovery services for patients as they transition from hospital to home. In these centers wireless Internet access is an important service offering for SunBridge.
“The ability to access the Internet and stay connected to family, friends, and work is an expectation of our patients and visitors,” explains Kevin O’Connell, VP of Specialty Services for SunBridge Healthcare. “Internet access is especially important for patients who may not have family nearby, so having a reliable wireless service is a huge benefit for us in terms of our customers’ confidence in the care and services we provide.”
Patients and visitors use the wireless Internet service for access to e-mail, video calls, and websites. Attending physicians also expect wireless access to patient data in electronic medical records and hospital systems. “Offering wireless access to physicians increases their satisfaction with our care services, which is important because they are a key referral source for patients,” says O’Connell.
Today, the WiFi access in these centers is delivered and managed by MegaPath and its wireless partner. The solution includes a MegaPath T1 data circuit and router for each center, with inside cabling to multiple wireless access points to provide optimal coverage based on expected usage throughout the facility. SunBridge previously used a wireless network from another service provider, but after experiencing unacceptable levels of reliability and support, the company’s IT staff began searching for a new solution.
After careful review, SunBridge selected MegaPath for its strength in both project management and user support. MegaPath has managed all installation activities for the new wireless systems in the SunBridge centers, which significantly eased the transition from the previous vendor.
For users, MegaPath provides printed information on accessing the wireless service as well as a toll-free telephone number for obtaining support. These calls are handled by MegaPath partner staff, who answer the call with the SunBridge name to deliver a consistent user experience.
Installing the network cabling and equipment in a healthcare facility requires special attention by the vendor to concerns of patient safety and comfort. “You can’t leave cables lying around a hallway because that could cause a tripping hazard, and noisy construction could be difficult for patients in pain,” says O’Connell. “With MegaPath’s team, we were very happy with their understanding of our care center environment.”
“For the first time, we will have a company-wide implementation of a network service, using one approach and one vendor that we trust.”
–Kevin O’Connell, VP of Specialty Services,
Once the wireless network is installed, reliability and quality support are essential because the local centers do not have dedicated IT staff. The SunBridge network is managed remotely by MegaPath and its wireless partner, with e-mail notifications of network status and issues to SunBridge staff.
Usage reports identify any coverage or service issues, information that was not available from the previous wireless service vendor. And as wireless technology becomes more widely used in medical devices and applications, this data will help SunBridge plan for future network capacity needs at each center.
Based on the successful implementation in the rehabilitation centers, SunBridge now plans to replace existing wireless networks in nearly 200 other company facilities with a MegaPath solution. Notes O’Connell, “For the first time, we will have a company-wide implementation of a network service, using one approach and one vendor that we trust.”
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