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Case Study: South Coast Radiology

South Coast Radiology began in 1967 with Dr David Jones opening a practice in Southport and since that time SCR has gown to become the leading provider of Radiology services in QLD as well as being the largest independently owned Radiology practice with 12 Sites and 22 Radiologists.

SCR has made significant contributions to public health initiatives and Medical Education for undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as educational sessions for the local Medical community and with two practices located at Pindara and John Flynn hospital where they provide fully comprehensive Radiology departments SCR are able to provide 24x7x365 oncall radiologists to their clients and patients in QLD.

Each of the comprehensive sites at SCR are staffed by at least one local Radiologist who will report cases for the patients at that site and be on hand if required.

Client Need

SCR approached Mercury IT (as their Full time IT Department) to assit them with investigations into a Business system that would allow them to serve their clients better though a digital Radiography system that was integrated between sites that would allow a patient to attend Site A for a scan and then at a later date attend Site B and have all history, patient details and images accessible via the digital system from the Reception machines and Radiologist workstations.

A requirement for this solution would be the ability for radiologists to share a workload and report cases from any other site allowing for an even workload ensuring faster turn around for clients as well as the ability for Radiologists to review cases for each other to offer assistance in areas of expertise.

Once a Solution was found the network and infrastructure would need to be able to support the system, image transfers, digital dictation and voice traffic aswell as provide the network CORE with a level of redundancy so that if a single piece of hardware or a link fails the network will continue to operate.

Our Solution

MIT Director Luke Halliday facilitated and attended meetings with various software suppliers with the Managing Partner and General Manager of SCR, after reviewing each solution and their technical aspects the team at MIT provided a recommendation for the most suitable technical solution; taking into account the support, network efficiency, workflow and Business objectives.

The project began with Mercury IT liasing with the software vendors on data/Infrastructure requirements and designing a solution to deliver the desired outcomes for SCR.\

Network:

MIT partnered with OntheNet on the Gold Coast to implement a Data Centre with dual 100MB links to the Private WAN (MPLS), Dual 10MB links to the internet and upgraded all sites to 10MB or greater.

Each site had a secure and suitable Server room built and Cisco hardware installed to support the network requirements and QoS was implemented to guarantee bandwidth priority for critical data.

The Centralised CORE consists of dual Cisco Routers, dual Layer 3 switches and is secured from the internet using dual firewalls this design enables a one of the WAN links or Network devices to fail and SCR will be able to continue to operate – our testing has shown a single packet loss during fail over so that the change is transparent to staff.

Mercury IT have implemented a DMZ zone for public facing services which protects the network from the internet making use of the latest firewall technology with external parties only gaining access via secure Tunnels managed by Mercury IT.

All Routers, switches and firewalls in the SCR network are managed by Mercury IT with real-time monitoring to alert us of any issues.

Server Infrastructure:

The business Systems integrate heavily with Active Directory Services and as such Server infrastructure is critical to the success of the project MIT implemented a solution with all critical services being replicated between one of the sites and the Data Centre which will enable SCR to fail over to a secondary location in the event the entire Data Centre goes offline.

MIT have implemented several Layers of backup for SCR to ensure 100% data safety these methods include:

  1. Replication between two sites
  2. System Recovery Snapshots to a replicated SAN (copies at two sites)
  3. Data Centre and Key Site both have Tape Drive systems in place for Key data as a final layer of security

A Standard Operating Environment was implemented across the SCR network so that all Doctors, Reception, clerical and administration computers are a standard hardware type and image that is tightly controlled by MIT via security policies – this has seen a dramatic increase in staff productivity and almost eliminated IT service calls for workstation related issues.
All workstations, servers and printers are monitored by our Network monitoring agents to keep us informed of any hardware or software changes or faults.

IT Support

Since contracting MIT to fix their WAN network in 2004 SCR have been a Managed Service client and continue to make use of our 'Outsourced IT Department' our helpdesk engineers provide SCR with support when required and our Senior team act as the CIO for the company providing IT advice, planning and guidance on a continuous basis.
Mercury IT have learnt the Business side of SCR as well as the IT side, this enables us to offer sound advice on solutions that will advance the business while taking into account more than just the 'technology'.

Key benefits to the South Coast Radiology

A Secure, fast and reliable WAN network, Project managed Implementations including overseeing the software Vendors implementation to ensure success. MIT using relationships with Cisco and HP to procure substantial discounts on hardware and improved network performance, staff efficiency and business workflow that allows more work to be done with less people and the added benefit of reliable access for oncall radiologists – saving them from a 3am drive into the office to report a case; the Doctor can now perform this reliably from home which means they are able to continue to offer local radiologists reporting cases 24x7.

What does South Coast Radiology have to say:

In 2004 when our network was dropping out and sites were struggling through the day with bad performance we called on Mercury IT to help out, after they successfully fixed all of our problems and went a step further of listening to our other issues and providing solutions for those too we knew that we had found the right people to support our network and this project was no exception.

From the beginning Mercury IT listened to our requirements and asked questions that we hadn't even considered, they demonstrate something that is rare (from my experience) in IT engineers – a real understanding of business and the need for Technology to work with the business processes.

The team at Mercury gave all of us all a feeling of security knowing that they would manage the whole process from link upgrades, new hardware installs and the software implementation – a huge undertaking given the scale of change required and our requirement for 24x7 operation.

It seemed like an impossible task and Mercury came through once again, helping us negotiate the process of building server rooms at sites, implementing a new data Centre and moving critical services all while installing a totally new practice management and digital radiology system everything went so smoothly we just started noticing improvements without being aware the changes had even been made.

The support, guidance and advice offered by Mercury IT's Project Managers, Helpdesk and Engineers is second to none, we cannot thank them enough for all of their professional support.

How Mercury Helps

The support, guidance and advice offered by Mercury IT's Project Managers, Helpdesk and Engineers is second to none, we cannot thank them enough for all of their professional support.