Why medical offices and care facilities use Bigleaf’s SD-WAN

Healthcare is going to the cloud 

More and more of the day-to-day operations of the typical medical office, assisted living facility, clinic, and care facility rely on the internet. They’re turning to cloud-based tools to more efficiently and effectively connect providers, patients, and data. 

Patient medical records and communications are being managed digitally. Phone systems are using VoIP so medical professionals can be contacted whether they are in their office, on rotation, or even at home. 

Through cloud-based technologies, medical offices are connecting their phone, messaging, and email systems to their appointment scheduling, billing, prescription refill, and referral tools. And more providers are offering telemedicine visits as an alternative to in-person appointments. All of these interactions are 100% dependent on the internet working on their end. 

Unfortunately, many healthcare organizations struggle with internet that just isn’t reliable enough

An SD-WAN can optimize your connection to the cloud — without touching PHI 

An intelligent software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is a cost-effective way to optimize your internet connection so you can make sure all of your important cloud-based apps work when and how you need them. There are different types of SD-WANs that have different advantages, though, so it’s important to pick the one that is best suited for your needs. 

Bigleaf’s SD-WAN was built for the cloud, with a unique Cloud Access Network that controls traffic from your location both to and from the application source in the cloud. Our intelligent software auto-detects your application needs and adapts in real time to internet performance and connectivity issues before they impact your business — without technical complexity or need for expert staff. 

And because many companies and organizations have very intentional security measures in place to protect sensitive information, we designed the Bigleaf SD-WAN to sit outside of the firewall. So, you don’t have to disable any of its features or change any configurations. This makes Bigleaf a popular choice for anyone who handles protected health information (PHI) and has to think about HIPAA compliance

Here’s how a few Bigleaf customers are using our SD-WAN solution to make things better for their staff and patients: 

Senior living community wanting to improve their residents’ quality of life 

When a new IT director started at a company that operates several senior living communities on the East Coast, they quickly learned the internet connection was unreliable at many of their communities — and that it was much more than a minor nuisance. Like many companies, they have a cloud-based phone system, and when their internet goes down, so do the phones. That means residents can’t call or receive calls from family members. Nurse call systems are also rendered inoperable.  

The IT director’s small team was getting a constant stream of internet-related support tickets. Unfortunately, all they could do was to call the local ISP and hope for a resolution. But this often ended with very little support and led to frustration among employees and residents. 

The IT director knew they needed a reliable internet connection at every community location. To accomplish that, they added a second circuit and installed Bigleaf’s SD-WAN at each location. With those two components in place, their communities were equipped with multiple paths to the internet, plus real-time quality of service (QoS), load balancing, and seamless failover to ensure that those paths were used to provide a flawless user experience. 

A plastic surgery office starting to offer televisits 

When the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders started, this plastic surgery office in the Pacific Northwest started offering televisits, or virtual video appointments, so they could continue serving their clients. They used their existing internet connection, but since it was shared with others in their building, it would slow down when several people tried to use it at the same time. As a result, televisits often suffered from lag and video quality issues that made it difficult for the doctors and patients to communicate and understand each other. 

It became clear that they needed an optimized and reliable internet connection to effectively offer televisits to their patients while also running all of their critical business applications, including a cloud-based electronic medical records platform. The clinic’s administrator talked to their network consultant and telecom agent to get their ideas and advice. They decided to connect through two solid fiber lines and deploy Bigleaf’s SD-WAN solution. 

Out of the box, Bigleaf’s Dynamic QoS prioritized the clinic’s mission-critical applications above the rest of the traffic. Bigleaf’s intelligent load balancing utilized the two internet connections to provide real-time traffic shaping and steering that improved stability. This minimized the jitter, packet loss, and latency issues that had affected video call quality — so now the televisits  just work. Plus, the other applications they rely on are working better, too. 

A primary care clinic tired of phone outages 

This clinic in the Rocky Mountains relies heavily on their phones, for everything from scheduling appointments to reminder calls and communicating with patients about lab results or follow-up care. Their old PRI phone system relied on a T1 internet connection that would go down for long periods of time, which had a very real impact on their business and their patients. 

In a little over a year, their phones went down three times for more than a day each time — with one outage lasting three days. The office manager at the clinic had talked with their telecom company multiple times about the outages. The telecom replaced several parts that were supposed to  fix the problem, but the clinic continued to experience entire days of downtime. 

After that three-day outage, the clinic’s office manager was fed up. Fortunately, the managed service provider (MSP) who manages their IT and internet connection knew just how to help.

Since the clinic already had a very reliable fiber line, the MSP recommended that they move to a cloud-based phone system supported by Bigleaf’s SD-WAN. Even with the single circuit, Bigleaf’s SD-WAN would manage their sensitive VoIP traffic and deliver the reliability they needed. The MSP’s recommendation was highly credible and trusted because his company used Bigleaf, too. 

Give your staff and patients reliable internet 

Today, a reliable and optimized internet connection is crucial to avoiding disruptions to your business operations and ensuring quality patient care. It’s the difference between things like your phones, telemedicine appointments, and scheduling system working well and keeping your business running smoothly and being frustrated daily while dealing with issues like garbled audio, freezing video, and applications that lag and can’t keep up. 

If your office, clinic, or care facility is struggling with internet issues, you can solve the problem with Bigleaf’s SD-WAN — and it’s probably simpler than you think. Have a question or want to learn more? Don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to help. 

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