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SDN Communications helps health care extend its reach


Doctor x ray iStock for web

SDN Communications provides business services to most of the major industry sectors in the Sioux Falls area. Health care, one of the pillars of Sioux Falls’ economy, is a prime example of an industry with a growing footprint and expanding telecommunications needs.

Health care has been an extremely good client for the three years that Dennis Kautz has been with SDN, and he expects the sector to need more bandwidth for telecom services in the future.

“Health care is definitely an area I see growing pretty fast and taking more of the network that we have available,” says Kautz, SDN’s vice president of sales and pricing.

Increasingly, health care systems are adding locations and using electronic delivery systems to expand the critical services they provide and increase business productivity.

Officials with Sioux Falls-based Avera Health say that eCare services, such as help provided to Intensive Care Units, are revolutionizing health care in rural areas.

SDN’s broadband network helps tie together more than 25 Avera hospitals and 90 clinics in a multistate area.

Jim Burkett, director of technology for Avera Health, said SDN’s broadband network is routinely used to transfer electronic medical records from one facility to another. A more dramatic example is how a patient in ICU in a rural area can be monitored electronically by medical specialists hundreds of miles away to assist the primary-care staff.

“It’s a really sexy thing. It’s one of the things you can do for rural health care that really makes a difference,” Burkett says.

e-Emergency Service, in particular, is growing at a rapid rate, he says.

Sheila Weber, vice president of children and youth services at Lutheran Social Services in Sioux Falls, also provides dramatic examples of how SDN’s network helps improve people’s health and lives. LSS is a nonprofit social services agency with a presence in 30 South Dakota communities. The agency uses SDN technology every day to provide services to clients or for staff meetings.

When LSS residential treatment programs in Spearfish and Aberdeen lost the psychiatrists that cared for children, youths remained in need of services. Through the use of video conferencing technology, LSS was able to connect facilities an excellent psychiatrist in Sioux Falls, Weber says.

“Now the kids are able to see their TV doctor routinely,” she says.

LSS makes use of SDN’s broadband network in other important ways, too.

For example, video conferencing technology provided by SDN connects siblings and other family members in different communities to connect more often and in a more intimate fashion.

“This ability to see one another so much more often than they ever used to be able to helps to improve the youths’ morale and helps them to heal faster and complete treatment faster,” Weber says.

As Kautz points out, an array of health experts are available to increasingly more people, and SDN is helping make the connections through fiber optic Internet and guaranteed bandwidth. The possibilities are amazing, he says. They are, indeed.