Printer Friendly
The Free Library
22,719,120 articles and books

Rx for better health care.

Bassett Healthcare uses frame relay A high-speed packet switching protocol used in wide area networks (WANs). Providing a granular service of up to DS3 speed (45 Mbps), it has become popular for LAN to LAN connections across remote distances, and services are offered by most major carriers.  to future-proof its network and enable telemedicine.

To stay in the running in the competitive health care industry, a company has to reach more patients or become more efficient. Bassett Healthcare was able to do both through a frame relay solution using enterprise networking The networking infrastructure in a large enterprise with multiple computer systems and networks of different types is extraordinarily complex. Due to the myriad of interfaces that are required, much of what goes on has little to do with the real data processing of the payroll and orders.  and access products.

Bassett's multimedia network takes its modern technology and health care services to more patients in the upstate New York Upstate New York is the region of New York State north of the core of the New York metropolitan area. It has a population of 7,121,911 out of New York State's total 18,976,457. Were it an independent state, it would be ranked 13th by population.  region. It also provides greater network efficiencies and positions the company for future applications such as the transfer of X-rays over a computer network.

Bassett Healthcare wanted to link its three hospitals, a main referral clinic, and 18 community outpatient clinics with more advanced network technology capable of consolidating voice, video, and data traffic.

The company deployed frame relay and asynchronous transfer mode See ATM.

(communications) Asynchronous Transfer Mode - (ATM, or "fast packet") A method for the dynamic allocation of bandwidth using a fixed-size packet (called a cell).

See also ATM Forum, Wideband ATM.

ATM acronyms.

Indiana acronyms.
 (ATM) technology, resulting in reduced networking costs at the same time that traffic has increased fifteen-fold. In fact, total line costs have been reduced by more than $250,000 per year.

Bassett also implemented a number of advanced telemedicine applications made possible by the increased, affordable bandwidth, improving the scope and quality of patient care.


The network transformation process began after it had become apparent that Bassett Healthcare had significant bandwidth and cost inefficiencies in its network. At that time, three separate but overlapping networks served Bassett's voice, data, and video needs.

For data, the existing wide area network (WAN) was a combination of leased, point-to-point, 56 kb/s private lines and switched 56 kb/s and T1 circuits. This not only was expensive, but also provided limited bandwidth to the outlying clinics, where dumb terminals A display terminal without processing capability. It is entirely dependent on the main computer for processing. Although mainframe and minicomputer terminals (3270, 5150, etc.) are technically smart terminals, because they have a certain amount of built-in screen display capabilities,  were used to access and exchange medical information.

Bassett Healthcare's voice traffic was routed over a virtual private network (VPN (Virtual Private Network) A private network that is configured within a public network (a carrier's network or the Internet) in order to take advantage of the economies of scale and management facilities of large networks. ) provided by a long distance carrier. Toll charges were high, especially since many rural locations couldn't justify the use of expensive dedicated access lines to the VPN. Calls to and from these off-net sites were billed at a premium rate.

In addition to the data and voice networks, Bassett also operated a separate videoconferencing A real time video session between two or more users or between two or more locations. Although the first videoconferencing was done with traditional analog TV and satellites, inhouse room systems became popular in the early 1980s after Compression Labs pioneered digitized video systems  network employing video codecs (1) A hardware circuit that converts analog video (NTSC, PAL, SECAM) into digital code and vice versa. The term may refer to only the A/D and D/A conversion, or it may include the compression technique for further reducing the signal (definition #2 below). See codec.  using multiple switched 56 kb/s circuits to create fractional T1 circuits.

This multiplicity of networks is typical. A study commissioned by Nortel found that, on average, each Fortune 1000 corporation maintains 6.7 separate and distinct networks. Managing and maintaining multiple networks increases costs and adds to network complexity. And bandwidth allocated to one application's traffic stream is usually unavailable for other applications.

Bassett Healthcare decided its best course lay in network consolidation and transformation.

"When we looked at expanding into more advanced telemedicine applications, we decided that we needed a true multimedia enterprise network that would integrate voice, data, and video, and allow us to serve a greater number of patients at a lower cost," says Dr. Michael Levenstein of Bassett Healthcare.

The search for a multimedia solution in turn led to consideration of frame relay and ATM.


Bassett installed 21 Nortel Magellan Passport enterprise network switches on its Cooperstown campus and in remote clinics. Connected by T1 circuits, the Passport switches provide a frame relay network carrying voice, data, and video between all of Bassett Healthcare's sites. Passport switches would handle local area network connections.

In the outlying clinics, 11 Magellan Access Integrators (MAIs) were installed to consolidate voice and fax traffic over frame relay.

At the main campus in Cooperstown, an OC-3 SONET ATM backbone connects 16 buildings, including an acute care hospital, main referral clinic, financial center, data center, medical office building, education center, a dialysis center, and support facilities.

Two Passport switches reside on the ATM backbone, functioning as the hub of Bassett's star-configured WAN to the remote sites.

As more telemedicine applications are developed and deployed, Bassett's long-range plans include a migration to enterprise-wide ATM over DS-3 circuits for even greater bandwidth for all network locations.

"This solution provides the breadth of interfaces we need today," says Charles Taylor
Charlie and Chuck are common familiar or shortened forms for Charles.

Charles Taylor may refer to: Political figures
  • Charles G.
, network manager, Bassett Healthcare. "It also provides that seamless migration path to ATM."


Bassett's enterprise network now has the increased bandwidth to support even the most advanced telemedicine applications. For example, a family physician in a rural clinic can transmit X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), noninvasive diagnostic technique that uses nuclear magnetic resonance to produce cross-sectional images of organs and other internal body structures. , or CAT scan CAT scan (kăt) [computerized axial tomography], X-ray technique that allows relatively safe, painless, and rapid diagnosis in previously inaccessible areas of the body; also called CT scan.  results to one of the acute care hospitals, where a radiologist radiologist /ra·di·ol·o·gist/ (ra?de-ol´ah-jist) a physician specializing in radiology.
 can view the images and provide a diagnosis. Because the switches interleave To intersperse one after the other. See sector interleave and memory interleaving.

interleave - interleaving
 broadcast-quality video with voice and data, this on-line consultation can also include a real-time video link.

The capability to transmit video images over the network adds a personal element to the consultation, and is essential for bringing the advantages of telemedicine to specialties such as dermatology dermatology (dûrmətŏl`əjē), branch of medicine concerned with diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the skin. , in which a high-resolution visual examination of the patient is critical.

Through LAN-to-LAN routing, hospital and health clinic staff now have immediate access to the Cooperstown campus network, regardless of their location.

The former mainframe/terminal configuration has been replaced by client/ server topology topology, branch of mathematics, formerly known as analysis situs, that studies patterns of geometric figures involving position and relative position without regard to size. , streamlining such everyday tasks as patient scheduling, laboratory results reporting, medication orders for the pharmacies, inventory management, and billing.

Bassett Healthcare is consolidating thousands of patient records in a central repository, where the information will soon be accessible from clinic locations throughout the network.

Bassett facilities in Cooperstown comprise one of upstate New York's primary teaching hospitals. The network's video capabilities are also used to support interactive distance learning (IDL (1) (Interface Definition Language) A language used to describe the interface to a routine or function. For example, objects in the CORBA distributed object environment are defined by an IDL, which describes the services performed by the object and how the data ) applications.


Toll charges for voice calls represented a significant expense for Bassett Healthcare. The new enterprise network has reduced that expense, carrying 120,000 minutes of voice traffic per month at a 12% savings compared to the lowest VPN-rate bid Bassett received from a long distance carrier. Using the spare capacity on the frame relay circuits, Bassett has realized a 40% reduction in long distance expenses.

RELATED ARTICLE: A regional intranet for advanced telemedicine

With its enterprise-wide multimedia network in place, Bassett Healthcare is considering ways to expand its telemedicine offerings. The vision is an ATM-backbone intranet serving the medical needs of upstate New York and rural New England New England, name applied to the region comprising six states of the NE United States—Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The region is thought to have been so named by Capt. .

In this scenario, Nortel Rapport Dialup Switches would be deployed in tandem Adv. 1. in tandem - one behind the other; "ride tandem on a bicycle built for two"; "riding horses down the path in tandem"
 with the Magellan Passport nodes in Bassett Healthcare's remote clinics. These nodes would serve as points of presence (POPs) for the regional intranet.

Physicians and hospitals could gain access to Bassett Healthcare's resources through these POPs via dialup modems, ISDN ISDN
 in full Integrated Services Digital Network

Digital telecommunications network that operates over standard copper telephone wires or other media.
, or switched 56 kb/s service.

Through the intranet, health care providers not affiliated with Bassett could provide their rural patients with the consulting specialists of the region's top teaching and research hospital. Bassett Healthcare also would have a new revenue stream generated over an expanded geographic area.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 Reader Opinion




Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Company Operations; includes related article on Bassett Healthcare's ATM intranet; Bassett Healthcare's frame-relay, ATM network
Author:Middleton, Joe
Publication:Communications News
Date:Mar 1, 1997
Previous Article:What we need to know to use the Internet.
Next Article:No excuses.

Related Articles
Switched networks extend life of today's internetworks.
One good answer for the voice & data over the WAN.
In a changing environment, network backbone upgrades emerge as wise investment.
ATM branches out.
Meet the invisible WAN.
Caring for the Inner City: Telemedicine's Newest Niche.
It's elementary, my dear Watson.
Optimize with SVCs.
Take a look at low-cost access to high-speed networks.
Is the clock ticking for frame relay?

Terms of use | Copyright © 2014 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters