NBN for Medical Practices

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Medical NBN

NBN for Medical

The large amounts of data that a medical practice generates and transmits makes a high speed NBN service an obvious choice.  Telemedicine and e-health services are quickly becoming the norm and every practice needs to ensure they are providing these services to their patients.

Which NBN Service

There are different types of NBN Services, all of which are designed to address a specific requirement.    NBN Co has published this information here.    Having done a lot of work in this space we are well placed to provide some further information on this topic that will hopefully assist you in making the move.

In simple terms, there are two types of services available for your practice.   Each of these is described below.

Asymmetrical

Asymmetrical NBN

An asymmetrical service has a faster download speed and a slower upload speed.    This type of service is similar to what ADSL was providing a few years ago although NBN has the ability to provide an asymmetrical service with considerably more bandwidth that what ADSL used to provide.   NBN is a much faster service.

Asymmetrical services are great for web browsing as the amount of traffic you are sending up to the Internet is minimal while loading pages into your web browser is a download and is always considerably more than what you are sending up.   The fastest Asymmetrical NBN service your medical practice can implement is 100 Mbps download and 40 Mbps upload.    These figures are ideal and rarely achieved, which is an important factor to understand.   

Asymmetrical services are a best effort product and the speed you will eventually get is reliant on how the service is delivered to you.   

  • If the NBN service is delivered to you over fiber optic cable, you will get closer to the ideal maximum figures quoted above. 
  • If the NBN service is delivered to you over copper, the maximum speed you will get is dependent on the distance between you and the NBN point of presence.   

Symmetrical NBN

Symmetrical NBN

Symmetrical services have the same upload speed as the download speed.    More importantly, symmetrical services typically have a guaranteed speed, unlike Asymmetrical which is best effort.    You will get the speed that you have subscribed to and are paying for.     The fastest symmetrical service that NBN offers at the moment is 1,000 Mbps, or 1 Gbps.    

Symmetrical services are great for interactive applications like video conferencing or telehealth.   The clinical information being ferried around a Medical practice is typically enormous.   

What to consider

When it comes to delivering better health outcomes , a robust, reliable and fast broadband service is a non-negotiable requirement for a medical practice.    The type of service required will depend on how dependent your practice is on cloud services.    If your servers are all “internal” and you use few if any cloud services and only web browse, then an Asymmetrical service may be sufficient.    From experience, most practices will require a symmetrical service with guaranteed bandwidth.

The place to start is to determine the type of service you can get at your premises.   NBN Co have a web site here that will allow you to check your address. 

  If you can get an NBN service or if you already have an NBN service then there are a few other things that need to be addressed to ensure you are getting the best performance and security out of your investment.   These are listed below;

Security

As I am sure you are aware, medical records contain very sensitive person data about your patients.     There is compliance legislation in place that mandates how this data is protected and there are also governing bodies that enforce this legislation.    We have several articles available that will assist you in ensuring you are compliant.

If you are using the Microsoft Eco System in your practice please read this article.

Performance

If you want to get the best performance out of your High Speed NBN connection, the equipment supporting this connection must be capable of moving the data around and through your network without any bottlenecks.    As a chain is as strong as its weakest link, the data moving around your network will only go as fast as your slowest device.

Please read about business routers to get an understanding of what is required.

Ongoing Support

Once everything is in place and working at its optimum best, every practice needs someone to call for anything IT related.   More importantly, someone needs to take responsibility for ensuring everything stays secure and runs at optimal performance.    Take a look here to get some insights on how you can continue doing what you do best; growing your medical practice.

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