Major Communications Improvements: “Yes, I Can Hear You!”

The Communications Center houses the hospital’s IT department.

When Holy Name Medical Center became the conduit for many improvements to infrastructure and process, one would wonder how this technological leader in the northern New Jersey healthcare market would transmit their extraordinary network and communications knowledge asset to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Typically, things that go beep or ding don’t survive long here in this most deleterious environment. Humidity, fungus, vermin, insects, dust and relentless heat are the factors that render those gizmos, our lives have become so dependent upon, into very expensive doorstops. Mike Maron, Holy Name Medical Center’s fabled CEO, was enthusiastic about bringing technology into our hospital environment, understanding the exceptional advantages it could bring to accelerate best practices and the immediate transfer of rapidly developing medical process in a conventional US environment.

Holy Name Medical Center IT Director Frank Marano readies the new server.

From the onset, Mike advocated for better communications. Prior to exercising this initiative, a simple telephone call or a small file download over the Internet might take hours or even days of reconnecting and vigilant persistence with late 1980’s technologies before either the sender would give up or the “wizard of Menlo Park” would appear as an apparition and the connection would be made. It was a common sight to see our US volunteers walking about the three campuses nested in our little mountain community saying, “Can you hear me now?”

This past year has seen the advent of multiple ISP’s which delivery and distribute their product to the hospital via fiber optic lines and a one hundred foot microwave tower. The Holy Name Medical Center’s IT department led by Mike Skvarenina, Frank Marano, Cyril Coffee and Alan Restaino improved upon work started by our long time sponsor, TriMedx of Indianapolis, that now includes a high-speed Internet network that can complete an upload in the time it takes to click a mouse twice. The backbone behind these new innovations resides in a recycled server farm that was recently decommissioned at HNMC in lieu of the next generation technology. To house this marvel, the HSC General Services staff built a fully insulated SIP panel room next to the CRUDEM office at the residential campus. Special electrical power was installed by the electricians from Local 6 out of San Francisco and San Mateo, CA.

These wonderful tradesmen were sponsored by Walt Vernon of Mazzetti, Nash, Lipsey, Burch of San Francisco.

Upcoming improvements include a VoIP, Voice over IP telephone system which will connect all of the hospital departments and key management staff to a land based telephone system with ability to make calls back to the US on a low cost basis.

The improvement in speed also means further implementation of telemedicine which will greatly improve our hospital’s diagnostic capabilities as well as provide the necessary training and observation to underpin staff education and growth.

The ultimate goal is to find means and methods to push back the disparity between the technological advances that we enjoy and perhaps take for granted, and those bridgeable chasms which prevent the transfer of knowledge between our two nations. We have much in common and much to share.