Perham Health is a state-of-the-art, 25-bed critical access hospital. Perham Health operates clinics in Perham, Ottertail and New York Mills. The Perham Health system also includes a 98-bed skilled nursing facility, memory care assisted living suites, home care service, adult day services, acute-care rehabilitation and senior housing. They employ 650 people.
Medical Imaging: A Snapshot of Networking Needs in Healthcare
Perham Health operates a clinic within its main hospital campus, and regional clinics in New York Mills and Ottertail. A Metro Ethernet network provided by Arvig connects all the locations.
Metro Ethernet—or Metro E—is a virtual private network ideal for high-bandwidth applications and data transport over long distances. The service provides simple, secure and resilient connectivity between two or more locations and can be used in conjunction with other site to site connectivity options such as SD-WAN or site to site VPN connections.
“If you want good, reliable connectivity between your sites, Metro E is the way to go,” says Jim Rieber, Director of Information Systems and Facility Management at Perham Health.”
Perham Health relies on dependable, high-bandwidth networking capability for many administrative and technical applications. The network sees a high volume of data-heavy traffic on both its internal and external networks.
“All the traffic that has to go back and forth—everything from scheduling patients to accessing records, transmitting information to other facilities, even filling your prescription—all goes through that circuitry to get dispensed to everywhere it has to go,” Rieber says.
One such connectivity-dependent application is the Picture Archiving Communications System
(PACS). The clinics in Perham, New York Mills and Ottertail share access to PACS, the central database for Perham Health’s medical imaging data, which includes general imaging, 3-D mammography, ultrasound, a 64-slice CT, MRI, Echo, DEXA scan and nuclear radiology images.
Advanced imaging technology allows scans to be viewable immediately. Each image is automatically uploaded and archived to the PACS system and becomes accessible to any facility in the network. Data is stored and backed up at out-of-state data centers.
Between the three clinics, the majority of images are generated from the Perham location, but the New York Mills facility has some imaging capability and all three locations have access to the system.
Perham Health’s Imaging department has a wide-reaching impact. Other health care units depend on its services—including chiropractic care, the emergency room, physical therapy and surgery. Imaging’s ability to quickly process and access images helps other departments deliver more efficient care.
Not long ago, imaging—from the time a scan began to when a report could be processed—took hours. Now, scans are viewable in just minutes, allowing for faster access by doctors and specialists, less waiting for patients and more timely results overall.