University of Utah Hospital continues innovating with 3Com Network Jacks and networked telephony

Marlborough 14 August 2003Recognised as one of the United States' "most wired hospitals", the University of Utah Hospital (UUH) is taking the next technological step to better serving patients and staff by incorporating an innovative networking solution from 3Com Corporation. UUH, identified as one of the most wired hospitals in 2000, 2001 and 2002 by the American Hospital Association, is integrating 3Com Network Jacks into the hospital's expanding 3000-employee, 400-bed health care system.


The Network Jack, a four-port, managed Fast Ethernet switch compacted into a traditional wall faceplate, is enabling the Salt Lake City hospital to provide more ports to select user locations in its 15.000-port network without adding cable in wiring closets. The 3Com system also permits the hospital's four-person IT staff to pinpoint network troubles in minutes compared to hours or days when they once manually combed through wiring closets to identify problem switches. The Network Jacks also link the phones in the hospital's 3Com SuperStack 3 NBX Networked Telephony system to its pre-existing Ethernet network.

"3Com's unique NJ200 Network Jack allows us to quickly add data ports to support new services without piling up additional cabling costs", stated Gary Vandertoolen, network operations manager, UUH. "The NJ200s give us greater value from our network architecture. They let us plug in and power our 3Com NBX telephones directly over the network. They even let us manage these nodes remotely, which greatly reduces our total cost of ownership."

Using its 3Com NJ200 Network Jacks to accommodate voice and data communications, UUH, which has nine community and more than 20 remote clinics, is gaining immediate returns in the efficiency of its services. The hospital's Salt Lake business office uses 350 Network Jacks to link 350 NBX phones and PCs to the network, facilitating more efficient management of physician referrals, accounting and administration. At the hospital's Stansbury Park clinic, 24 NJ200s help deliver the Cerner electronic records system, plus PACS Radiology and other cutting-edge medical applications to emergency room personnel to help them more rapidly admit, chart and treat emergency patients.

The Network Jacks and NBX phones will also help the hospital behind the scenes. The NJ200's location mapping feature when deployed will prove particularly handy, interoperating with the hospital's E911 system to pinpoint the locations of NBX phones. Location mapping will map specialised hospital beds that deliver continuous readings of blood pressure, pulse and other vital statistics for critical care patients. Network Jacks will additionally power the internal 12-person, NBX technology-driven IT call centre the hospital uses to support its 6000-node network and its 850 physicians. Once the university's computing services building relocates in the fall of 2003, 600 Network Jacks will provide connectivity for technicians, computer labs and training rooms.

UUH additionally will use the Network Jacks to create and manage virtual local area networks (VLANs) deployed to more efficiently, securely and reliably apportion bandwidth for both clinical and general use. For example, patient care devices with built-in IP stacks will utilise a separate VLAN from heart monitors, radiology PACS stations and administrative users.

UUH's decision to deploy the 3Com Network Jacks emanated from its need to increase its network nodes to accommodate growth in both personnel and services. Previously, the hospital engaged contractors to lay new cable every time it needed to deploy additional PCs and laptops, a laborious, time-consuming practice that cost no less than $200 per service call. To rectify this situation, UUH decided to seek a practical, cost-effective alternative that would reduce its dependence on contractors and support its continued growth.

To find the solution, UUH consulted with 3Com value-added reseller Netpath Systems, which had previously deployed the 3Com NBX networked telephony solution. In lieu of making a large investment in new cabling and edge switches, UUH selected the 3Com NJ200 Network Jack for its price/performance, cost-saving manageability and small footprint. To install the Network Jacks, IT staff effortlessly attach them to pre-existing network wall outlets using a simple screwdriver, instantly quadrupling port capacity.

Fitting directly into standard 4.5"x 2.75" wall cutouts and available in black and cream colours that match most decors, the Network Jacks interoperate seamlessly with UUH's multi-vendor Gigabit Ethernet network. Each Network Jack provides four managed RJ-45 autosensing 10/100 megabits per second (Mbps) switched ports for LAN connections. The systems are also compatible with voice over IP (VoIP) standards. UUH chose the NJ200's two optional pass-through ports, which it uses to plug in its 3Com NBX telephones as well as departmental credit card transaction machines.

"The 3Com NJ200 Network Jack perfectly addresses our constant and growing need to add port capacity to support our services and employees", concluded Gary Vandertoolen. "For ease of use, economy and manageability, there's simply no competition for the 3Com Network Jack." 3Com is a tier-one provider of innovative, practical and high-value voice and data networking products, services and solutions for enterprises of all sizes and public sector organisations. More information on the company is available in the VMW August 2003 article 3Com voice solution remedies patient communications at University of Tennessee Cancer Institute.

Leslie Versweyveld

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