Since 1975, Patton-Fuller Community Hospital has been in business as a non-profit full service health care institution providing advanced emergency medical care, physical therapy, radiology, surgery, labor and delivery, surgery and other services dealing with the health and well-being of the local community. In order for the company to operate properly, Patton-Fuller must have a great IT infrastructure to support the company allowing them to achieve goals and potential growth. The following analysis of Patton-Fuller Community Hospital network system will show that there are vital changes that need to be made to enhance their network system. This report will show if there are any changes that can be made to make the network run more efficient. Analysis of Network System
The network design used at Patton-Fuller Community Hospital is comparable to a tree topological connection and Ethernet is in the center having a centralized connectivity. The Administrative functions on the workstation using the server DHCP to obtain IP addresses. The black and white or color laser printer network is only a static DHCP IP is set to DHCP on the server using hardware MAC addresses. Data is transported through the hospital using a 1000 Base-T network as the backbone structure. 1000 Base-T network also known as IEEE802. 3ab is a standard for gigabit Ethernet over copper wiring using mostly CAT 5 or CAT6 type network cabling. Each segment of the network has a maximum cable length of about 328 feet or 100 meters.
1000 Base-T standard uses automatic MDI/MDI-X configuration which means straight through cables will often work between gigabit-capable interfaces that can eliminate the needs of a crossover cable (Switch Cabling And Auto-MDIX, 2007). The hospital’s main support departments including Human Resources, Operations, Finance, Executive Management and the IT data center are all 1000 Base-T which is all wired with CAT 6 cables. Other sections of the organization radiology, operating rooms, wards, labs, emergency rooms and pharmacy are feed using 1000 Base F which is basically single mode fiber cables. For the most part, Patton-Fuller Community Hospital Local Area Network is wired with Cat 6 cables with the part of the facility using wireless WLAN routed to the same network bridge. Current Architecture of Networking
Patton-Fuller has two primary operational components a clinical half and an administrative half. The administrative portion of the hospital is comprised of the human resources, accounting, reception, Information Technology and executive offices. The administrative part of the hospital requires the ability to transmit encrypted data consistently and the ability to access patient records and the databases instantaneously. After taking a close examination of the existing network it has been determined that the clinical side of Patton-Fuller requires access to data and a stable internet connection providing a superior flexibility.
The examination of the network shows that these attributes are needed in the administrative department. The administrative department uses a 1000 Base-T network and the clinical department uses a 1000 Base-F network with the two meeting at the structural division connected by means of a hardware based bridge that facilitates interdepartmental communication for the entire hospital. The Patton-Fuller Community Hospital network architecture is adequate, but some areas need to be upgraded to the network operated more functional. Network Improvements
Patton-Fuller network is good enough to remain operational and keep the hospital running; but with newer equipment and upgraded networking throughout the hospital the system would run more efficiently. After examining all the aspects of the network it is my determination that Patton-Fuller should expand their network to be competitive with other hospital. With hospitals and IT being the fastest growing fields it should be noted that in the next three years 60% of hospitals will need to add more server and storage capacity to their data center to keep up with the growing demand (Mielach, 2012). More than half of the hospitals in the country are either planning to update or expand IT infrastructure within their hospital, expand their existing facility or plan to build brand new facilities (Mielach, 2012). Many of them will implement new technologies such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP), network communication, the use of Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) and cloud computing (Mielach, 2012).
Wireless Hospital Technology Although Patton-Fuller Community Hospital has wireless capabilities in the ICU-Ward floor wireless access needs to be expanded throughout the hospital to improve their networking capabilities. The area of effective range of a Wi-Fi AP is only as good as the equipment that is used. An Access Point usually only has a range of up to 300 feet. Capacity and range are important factors to consider when installing wireless networks. With the addition of the new hardware Patton-Fuller may have to upgrade their switches to switches that power over Ethernet (POE), by upgrading the switches to POE there will not be a need to run power circuits to plug to AP’s. Access Points should be placed so that as to avoid crosstalk between APs and so they don’t interfere with signals. The upgrades in technology will allow staff access to required data throughout the building without worrying about the location of data ports. Medical devices will be linked to networks thus allowing patient information at the touch of a button.
Upgrading wireless capabilities will allow patients and family use of mobile device will visiting patients. Wireless Access Points allow patients and their families to use mobile devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones phones while they are visiting the hospital facility. Patton-Fuller should consider using the Cisco Medical grade Network since it provides a strongly constructed infrastructure that supports leading medical technologies and offers a platform for the future. Using a vendor with experience in hospital IT infrastructure might be a good idea for the hospital. Patton-Fuller should consider using the Cisco Medical-Grade Network (MGN), is founded on a documented way of achieving specific results under specific circumstances in an effective way offering the network foundation that enables dependable, continuous, and secure health data communications across the healthcare community (Mielach, 2012).
MGN supports effective communication among doctors, patients, and administrators. MGN supports anytime, anywhere access for wired and wireless applications and devices to computer data. MGN offers identity and policy-based security from internal or external hospital walls. MGN support the transfer and storage of large amounts of data created by healthcare software. Patton-Fuller should implement two separate wireless networks one inside the firewall for use by internal clients and a second located outside the firewall for visitor access with no encryption. The internal network would be secured using WPA2 Network Cabling
Fiber should be used for all system and centralized data storage system that resides in the data center and should be used for all network connection to switches located on each floor of the hospital. CAT6 is acceptable to run from the local switches to each workstation but a fiver connection from the switch back to the data center will increase speeds tremendously. Data Storage
A centralize data storage solution should be implemented for patient and hospital information. Due to HIPAA requirements it in risky and insecure to have any type of PHI stored on individual workstations. Furthermore patient information should only be accessible by the person with the correct access. Having the information stores in a central secure area the data will be protected, easily accessed, allow for redundancy and backup, and help justify the cost of having giver connections for increased speed. Contingency Plan
A contingency plan is need to ensure against potential threats to the network. The threat could be natural disaster, electrical, water, or even outside forces such as: malware, viruses or spam. Downtime is not acceptable for Patton-Fuller. Disconnecting the file storehouse from the server will reduces the amount of hardware and the volume of records that movement of data whether input or output. The recommended improvement would be to add a SAN to the OR, ICU, and Ward floors. This backup would provide the departments the accessibility from other pharmacies requesting prescription assistance or dosage requirements.
Adding SAN to the NAS currently used will improve backup deficiency present in the network. In closing, Patton-Fuller has a pretty good IT infrastructure which is based off a 1000 T based backboned network. The network offers a decent support system for the hospital but the hospital should consider using more wireless technology to aid the nurses in patient care and allow transmission of patient vitals wirelessly. The use of wireless technology and installing VoIP phone system will help bring the hospital up-to- par with the newer health facilities. The new technologies will be costly but if divide over the next 3 years the cost will be a minimal. The efficiency and the time saved for doctors and nurses will offset the cost for the hospital.
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Mielach, D. (2012, January). 10 Technologies That Will Change Your Business in 2012. Retrieved from http://www. businessnewsdaily. com/1859-business-technologies-2012. html Switch Cabling And Auto-MDIX. (2007, July 8). Retrieved from http://cciepursuit. wordpress. com/2007/07/08/switch-cabling-and-auto-mdix/