Vital services from AirSpeed Telecom give Vista Primary Care nationwide reach

In Ireland, the future of healthcare probably looks a lot like Vista Primary Care. Kildare-based Vista is Ireland's first primary-care campus, located just meters from Naas General Hospital. Its chief tenant is K-Doc, a group of general practitioners serving more than 240,000 patients. The EUR25 million centre boasts the kind of scanning and diagnostic equipment which was previously only available in a hospital setting, and which includes one of the world's few 4D CT scanners.

Vista offers ophthalmology, orthopaedic, pharmacy and medical imaging services, including diagnostic services like general X-ray, ultrasound, MRI and CT. Darragh Kettle, Commercial Manager for Vista, is emphatic about the importance of medical imaging to the venture.

"Medical imaging is a principal component of the whole project," Darragh said. "But it's also the highest risk. A key to our success is our ability to get images to any point in the country, and that was going to be difficult using traditional broadband."

Diagnostic imagery produced by Vista is analysed by radiologists and other specialists who then produce reports, including selected images, which can be viewed by the referring physicians or hospitals over a secure web interface. The radiologists' report "packages" are not bandwidth intensive, but the original diagnostic images are -- a single 4D scan may contain 8,000 images totalling 14GB. If the radiologists viewing the original images are not based at Vista, all files need to be transmitted to them, wherever they may be in Ireland.

This is the heavy-duty telecommunications challenge Vista brought to the market. The solution was licensed wireless high bandwidth connectivity from AirSpeed Telecom.

High-performance medical imaging demands high bandwidth

After considering fibre and other fixed line options, Darragh said Vista quickly opted for a licensed wireless network delivered as a managed service by AirSpeed Telecom.

AirSpeed's licensed wireless networks use microwave radio technology to deliver highly secure, reliable connectivity at extremely high bandwidth anywhere in Ireland, including rural regions not currently served by broadband or connected by fibre.

"We looked at fixed line and fibre, but we stopped pursuing anybody else because AirSpeed offered something unique -- they can get us to any hospital within the M50 without a cable and without relying on any other third-party technology or provider," Darragh explains. "We also need to reach hospitals anywhere in Ireland, and they showed a strong understanding of how to get large amounts of data across the country to a lot of different locations. Wherever we wanted to go, AirSpeed made a commitment to put in place the resources to get us there."

A dedicated service delivers for Vista

Rapid rollout:  Following the first consultation, AirSpeed Telecom successfully brought Vista live within 7 days with a 10Mbps link scalable to 155Mbps. This is uncontended symmetrical bandwidth from the Naas campus, via a high site on Kippure Mountain, direct to AirSpeed Telecom’s centre in Citywest.

Proactive, managed service:  AirSpeed Telecom’s proactive, ongoing network monitoring has ensured excellent service levels for Vista.

"Because they're providing a managed solution, we feel secure in the knowledge that they will tell us about issues before we would ever notice them," Darragh notes. "We've not had one minute of downtime."

Fast scalability, nationwide reach: AirSpeed Telecom’s rapidly deployable and scalable infrastructure offers important flexibility as Vista grows its business and requires links to more clinicians and hospitals across Ireland.

Darragh says licensed wireless is undoubtedly the right technology for Vista, from both a usability and a security point of view.

"Any network is only as secure as your encryption software and applications -- I think security is less to do with the carrier or the network technology than with the generator and processor of the data," he says. "We're very happy to work with this technology. Also the whole notion of managed and licensed is desirable, because there is a lot of unlicensed, unmanaged wireless out there."

The rapid, hassle-free setup also allowed Vista to move quickly with services that will let it recoup its large investment in leading-edge medical technology.

"AirSpeed clearly understood what we're trying to achieve from the very first conversation," Darragh says. "Our CT scanner alone (Aquilion ONE by Toshiba) cost EUR2.30 million and we would never be able to maximise that technology without licensed wireless, because other available technologies can't deal with those file sizes. We can't afford to drip feed images -- if a patient is critically ill, images have to be transmitted right away. Technically, fibre can do this level of data transmission, but we didn't have fibre here in Naas, the cost of bringing it here was prohibitive, and the time factor was just too long. Licensed wireless is the right technology for what we do."

As Vista looks to the future, it sees a continued role for AirSpeed Telecom, particularly as Vista seeks to back up its high-bandwidth images to a secure, remote location. Its dealings with AirSpeed Telecom to date give Vista every confidence in the network provider's ability to act as a long-term partner.

"AirSpeed is utterly professional: from the managing director all the way down, there hasn't been one concern with anybody in the organisation," Darragh notes. "We've never had to call AirSpeed twice about anything."