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Pop-up testing centers, mobile clinics and temporary critical care units to communities.
AI-Driven Networking Empowers Effective Coronavirus Surge Response
Pop-up testing centers, mobile clinics and temporary critical care units require simple, secure connectivity.
It was an unprecedented start to a new decade. As coronavirus surged, the world acted. With a moment’s notice, people sheltered in place, shifting to working, learning and living completely from their homes to slow the spread and protect the most vulnerable.
Healthcare workers worked around the clock to save lives. Parking lots, convention centers and public parks became medical facilities. Coronavirus testing centers popped up in tents. These locations, while temporary, needed connectivity and modern medical tools.
The technology community, too, came together to counter the global threat. Juniper Networks activated a rapid response, creating a network-in-a-box kit with AI-driven secure wireless. The network, designed to be smart, easy and automated, enabled healthcare providers to quickly set up secure connectivity for temporary sites.
Extending the Network Lifeline
When the crisis hit, Sacopee Valley Health, a non-profit hospital in the town of Porter, Maine worked to quickly set up a testing center in its parking lot. The hospital has been a part of the community for 40 years, and with the intensity of coronavirus in rural Maine an unknown, readiness was critical.
“At Sacopee Valley Health Center, we had to restructure our network to accommodate how we address our COVID-19 needs,” said David Bull, Director of Information Systems at Sacopee Valley Health Center. “We set up temporary COVID-19 testing tents with a secure wireless kit from Juniper and Mist. The entire parking lot is now soaked in luxuriant Wi-Fi. Everyone in the tents noticed the difference immediately.”
The Orlando Veterans Health Medical Center serves 110,000 veterans in Central Florida, caring for our nation’s protectors and their families. As the pandemic spread, clinical staff provided virtual triage and nursing for vets at home. Preparing for the worst, the VHA Innovation Ecosystem created a mobile ICU as a training exercise.
“In support of COVID-19, the VHA Innovation Ecosystem worked to support a mobile ICU tent training exercise outside the Orlando VA Medical Center,” said Jeff Saura, Chief Technology Officer of the Orlando VA Medical Center.
The Orlando VA already used Mist AI-powered location services and Wi-Fi to help patents and visitors find their way around the large facility, and lighting up the Wi-Fi to support its temporary ICU was straightforward. Doctors and nurses could easily access patient medical records and other digital health resources from their tablets. Telemedicine robots served as virtual stand-ins for clinicians, allowing doctors and nurses to care for patients while minimizing repeated exposure to the virus.
Healthcare Beyond Testing
In southern Louisiana, Lafayette proved how responsive a city could be during a public health emergency. Lafayette used its smart city network to share information across private sector, nonprofit and citizen groups to communicate public health and safety information, changes to business hours and even real-time parking availability for curbside pickup from stores.
Telehealth, once reserved for rural communities, became commonplace. Hospitals rapidly scaled up their telehealth and remote patient monitoring capabilities with virtual primary care, therapy services and behavioral health. Virtual appointments with doctors became a new norm.
Alaska Communications, a longstanding leader in delivering telehealth networking, was able to easily increase connectivity to support a greater need for rural healthcare during the crisis. “Our network is reliable, redundant and built to handle any increased demands in bandwidth,” said William Bishop, President and CEO of Alaska Communications.
Navigating Future Waves
As the world learns to live with coronavirus, we’ll see ebbs and flows. As hot spots pop up, healthcare providers need the agility to move quickly to meet their communities’ needs for testing and care.
No one will have time to waste on complex IT setups in future waves, either. Providers need secure connectivity fast, whether for testing, triage or critical care, so they can put patients and the safety of their staff first.
“Across Juniper, our teams worked together to help healthcare providers get set up quickly with secure connectivity,” says Matt Roberts, the Healthcare Practice Lead at Juniper Networks. “Everyone from our system engineers on the front lines to our technical assistant center experts were on priority alert so we could provide white-glove service during the crisis.”
“Juniper and Mist stepped up to help us when we needed it most with extraordinary generosity,” said Bull from Sacopee Valley Health Center. “The equipment is amazing and easy and their support has been awesome. It’s rare that you find a company that shows their commitment, rather than just talks about it. We are super grateful to them.”
Juniper’s AI-driven network kit included everything needed to get a location online fast, including indoor and outdoor wireless, wired networking and secure WAN connectivity. Mist’s cloud-based, AI-powered Wi-Fi makes it easy to deliver great network service to people in convention centers and adapted workplaces where proximity tracing and health screening can help to slow the spread of the virus. No special network skills are needed onsite, and everything can be remotely configured and managed by the provider’s IT team.
AI and automation extend simplicity to ongoing network operations. An AI-driven Juniper network simplifies network troubleshooting for IT teams. AI-driven insights drive actionable tasks for proactive and streamlined IT operations, empowering IT teams to focus on more strategic work.
A Transformation of Community Health
Many people will find their routines altered by regional outbreaks of coronavirus. It’s a sea change happening across industries and among people whose presence in the office was previously considered essential.
“Using technology to create smart cities is a fundamental technology for a world that may need to cycle through periods of isolation or quarantining as we work to find a vaccine and potentially face another future virus outbreak,” said Scott Turnbull, Director of Technology at US Ignite, which worked with Lafayette on its smart city transformation. “Cities can leverage technology to keep their community informed, safer and connected to their workplace, families and friends.”
In healthcare, administrative staff handling patient scheduling and billing may find that continuing to work at home increases productivity. Patients can be monitored at home, reducing the need to travel and providing continuity of care. Telehealth can bring much-needed specialist care to underserved communities. But the shift to better and more affordable healthcare can only happen if hospitals, private practices, clinics and the community have secure connectivity.
With an agile technology foundation, providers can focus on delivering the best care possible.