Case Study

Hospital Adds New Visibility to Assure Cerner EMR & VoIP

Hospital Adds New Visibility to  Assure Cerner EMR & VoIP


The Challenge
  • Lacked visibility into performance of healthcare and business apps
  • Needed a single solution for both Cerner EMR and VoIP services, along with other applications
The Solution
  • nGeniusONE® Service Assurance platform
  • InfiniStreamNG® software appliances
  • Certified nGenius ® 5010 Packet Flow Switches
The Results
  • Assures quality performance and availability of both VoIP and Cerner EMR
  • Reduced expenses with cost-effective, software based solution and fewer vendors to manage

Customer Profile

This hospital system has been providing healthcare services to its Western U.S. community for more than a century. They are a technologically advanced, award-wining hospital, earning high marks from the likes of U.S. News and World Report for their cancer treatment, vascular specialty, family medicine, and trama center. They depend on their 3,300 employees and 600 active physicians to support their 400 bed hospital, outpatient surgery center and rehabilitation services center. Like most healthcare organizations today, their digital services are critical in assuring the patient-care experience. Degradations impacting patient treatment, diagnostic tests, scheduling, prescription services, or campus-wide communications need to be avoided or resolved swiftly.

The Challenge

This hospital lacked basic visibility into the performance of their critical healthcare and business applications, which made service assurance the number one challenge for their information technology (IT) staff. The healthcare used Cerner for its electronic medical records (EMR) application, and its availability was crucial. Patient history, known conditions, existing prescriptions, and insurance coverage were all necessary to assist in prompt, safe, and secure patient treatment. Disruptions were simply unacceptable.

The second critical service for this IT team was voice over IP (VoIP) communications, which were essential in care diagnosis and treatment instructions, as well as speaking with patients. Here again, both availability and performance were necessary to avoid poor quality conversations and/or connection delays or dropped calls. Disruptions and degradations could delay patient treatment. The IT team was focused on ensuring whatever performance management solution they selected would support both their Cerner EMR and their VoIP service, among other healthcare and business applications.

Solution in Action

There was familiarity with NETSCOUT’s nGeniusONE Service Assurance solution among the IT staff at the healthcare and while analysis of alternatives was reviewed, the conclusion was that the nGeniusONE solution would best address the major goals of the initial project. The key capabilities that satisfied the healthcare IT staff needs included:

  • Ability to monitor and analyze more than 1,000 protocols and applications, including their Cerner EMR application.
  • Visibility across voice, video, and business data applications, simultaneously, with the same monitoring and analysis solution, including the hospital’s VoIP deployment.
  • Single vendor for service assurance and for packet broker technology reduced both potential conflicts and burden of managing multiple technology providers.

The healthcare’s IT staff’s initial deployment included:

  • nGeniusONE for real-time performance analytics, troubleshooting, and ongoing planning for both their application and network services.
  • Certified InfiniStreamNG (ISNG) software appliances for visibility into Cerner EMR and VoIP, as well as, their other healthcare applications and business services in their private data center.
  • Certified nGenius 5010 Packet Flow Switches to provide access to the network packets to feed ISNG appliances for service assurance, as well as other tools.

Based on the experience with nGeniusONE, the staff was able to quickly configure dashboards and workflows for alerts, troubleshooting, and reports on EMR and VoIP services. This provided a quick time to value with the solution, as they were able to attack and resolve performance issues rapidly.

The Results

The IT team and finance department would identify cost-effective, software-based ISNG appliances and nGenius PFS 5010s as key benefits to implementing the NETSCOUT solutions. The purchasing department found vendor management simpler, with NETSCOUT’s ability to deliver solutions for two key IT functions - packet flow switch technology as well as, service assurance visibility.

Bottom line, this was a simple case of a seasoned IT professional who arrived at their new job to find the healthcare lacked visibility to ensure the availability and performance of two of the most critical and essential services that run in a healthcare network – electronic records and voice communications. Without hesitation, the IT professional leveraged knowledge and wealth of experience in both healthcare technology and nGeniusONE to quickly rectify that potential barrier to the doctors’, nurses’, and staffs’ abilities to deliver safe, secure patient treatment. For a healthcare organization so busy that has trouble finding an appropriate time to plan for scheduled downtime, this IT staff is now benefiting from the nGeniusONE service assurance solution to prevent or minimize unplanned disruptions.