Healthcare Group Leverages Plixer’s Scrutinizer NetFlow Analyzer and Sees Immediate $80,000 Savings During Recession

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Mercy Hospital Implements Network Visibility Tool to Increase Efficiency in EMR Communication

In today’s healthcare industry, ensuring uninterrupted, timely and accurate communication between remote and main sites is crucial to the well-being of patients. In the midst of the recession and a massive reorganization by Mercy Hospital meant to cut costs, Senior Network Engineer Stan DeFreese began the search for a robust networking monitoring system to take some of the pressure off of his department, which was spread thin enough. The answer, Scrutinizer Netflow and sFlow Analyzer from Plixer, would do more than simply make his job easier; it would end up saving the organization between $80,000 and $100,000 annually in transparent LAN service (TLS) bills.

Communication over the network went between Mercy Hospital’s main location, a brand new campus, 15 remote sites and the hospital’s data center in Philadelphia. For automated and comprehensive network reports, Scrutinizer was scalable enough to take on the job handily, offering a new level of visibility to DeFreese.

“Scrutinizer sees disparate applications, top talkers and how much bandwidth each one is using—all from a much more detailed application/packet level perspective,” said DeFreese. “Plixer’s solution answers questions like ‘Which device is taking up bandwidth and utilization of application servers?’ Basically, it gives us a level of control and analysis that we’ve never had before.”

Mercy Hospital got Scrutinizer up and running just in time for a crucial project. Mercy Hospital was gearing up to implement a locally-housed ambulatory electronic medical record (AEMR) system for both remote sites and main locations. The AEMR would communicate directly with several different aspects of the network infrastructure, including OR and MR applications that communicate directly back to the core medical record. With Scrutinizer, DeFreese has been able to test how the new AEMR system will affect the network’s bandwidth so Mercy Hospital can plan accordingly.

Within the first moments DeFreese undertook analysis with Scrutinizer, collecting data from different protocols and connection peers, the detailed reports Scrutinizer returned revealed an incredible truth. “We were paying for a gigabyte TLS connection, but the reality was that we weren’t even using 50 megabytes. By adjusting our subscription, we came to save between $80,000 and $100,000 a year.”

A lot of benefits manifested themselves on a case-by-case basis. When a client in the local server that handled OR, surgery and other data was taking up nearly 20 percent of all communication to the data center, DeFreese was able to adjust the traffic accordingly with the information Scrutinizer collected.

Some of the benefits the program has offered Mercy Hospital are more basic. “Scrutinizer takes a complicated situation and makes it understandable,” remarked DeFreese. “Graphs and the solution’s simplistic but comprehensive layout break down the situation for the end user—especially CIOs and CTOs who might not have the engineering experience to understand the raw data.”

About Plixer International, Inc.

Plixer International, Inc. develops and markets network traffic monitoring and NetFlow analysis tools to the global market. All of the sFlow, IPFIX and NetFlow tools are built from the ground up with valuable feature sets and ease of use in mind. Plixer tools have been used to analyze and troubleshoot irregular network traffic patterns by IT professionals with some of the largest networks in the world, such as AT&T, Toyota, CNN, The Coca-Cola Company, Abercrombie & Fitch, Lockheed Martin, IBM, Regal Cinemas, Raytheon, and Eddie Bauer.

For product and sales information, contact Plixer International, Inc. at 1 Eagle Drive, Sanford, Maine, via telephone (207) 324-8805, fax (207) 324-8683; or visit the Plixer website.

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Hanni Itah

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