Saber Healthcare Group is a fast-growing provider of senior care services, including assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and short-term rehabilitation. Since 2001, the Ohio-based company has grown from two to more than 120 facilities in seven Eastern states. The family-owned business credits its growth to an “On the Cutting Edge of Healthcare” philosophy, which underpins its efforts to embrace greater health care knowledge and technologies to serve residents and patients in better ways.
Saber Healthcare’s fast growth is fueled by acquisition and new construction, including the Saber Community Support and Development Center, which opened in April 2021 and serves as company headquarters in Beachwood, Ohio.
Connecting these new facilities with high-speed Dedicated Internet Access over fiber has proved challenging for the Saber Healthcare IT team in several ways:
- Finding providers that serve the buildings (or are nearby)
- Collecting and comparing quotes
- Negotiating pricing
- Coordinating fiber builds
“The biggest challenge can be simply getting fiber in the door at the locations that don’t have it yet,” said Hall, explaining that locations in rural areas are far from fiber access points.
Even when a fiber DIA installation is feasible, the project can involve time-consuming interaction with multiple vendor contacts.
Like many modern health care organizations, Saber Healthcare is increasingly reliant on its network connections for access to mission-critical cloud applications and the corporate data center to deliver around-the-clock patient care.
“We want to try and keep these sites up as much as possible because they operate 24/7,” says Todd Hall, a Network Engineer for Saber Healthcare charged with sourcing and managing the company’s network.
Saber Healthcare’s day-to-day operations depend on a cloud-based application called PointClickCare, which documents and monitors critical data points such as patients’ medication, dietary needs, doctor’s notes, and other activities of daily living.
In addition, employees access their office productivity applications using Citrix virtual desktops delivered over high-speed Internet connections to their desktops, laptops, or tablets. They share files and sync data using Citrix secure cloud storage services and access email provided over connections to an email server hosted in the data center. Even the company’s on-premises phone system uses SIP trunking over the Internet to deliver phone calls internally to other offices or externally to the public switched telephone network (PSTN).
To ensure maximum uptime, Saber Healthcare deployed a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN), which supports redundant connections with automatic failover, so the network is operational 24/7/365. SD-WAN also supports quality of service for latency-sensitive applications like voice and video.
Saber Healthcare tapped telecom advisory firm Business Network Team to assist with the company’s connectivity challenges. BNT introduced Hall to APX Net, a carrier-agnostic digital communications service provider specializing in implementing complex, multilocation high-speed networks.
APX Net project managers take on the heavy lifting of designing and implementing Type 1 DIA circuits and managing new construction if required. When needed, APX Net engineers will step in to find creative ways to connect sites in remote areas.
The company also consolidates billing across locations and underlying networks to ease accounting overhead. Less time is spent on auditing due to the simplicity and accuracy of the APX invoices.
By working with APX Net, Saber Healthcare can offload, simplify and speed up sourcing and installation of DIA at its facilities. Instead of calling multiple providers, Hall makes one phone call to APX Net.
“Wherever I need bandwidth, I go to APX Net, and they’ll find it for me,” said Hall, noting that on more than one occasion, APX Net succeeded in getting fiber pulled to a building when it seemed like a lost cause.
APX Net’s single-source approach extends to network support, too. “I can call on APX Net rather than dealing with the various carriers and all of the different vendors that might be involved,” Hall said.
“One of the best things about APX Net is that I’m always working with the same people – the same project manager, the same network implementation team,” said Hall. “That just makes it easier for me. I know who I’m going to be working with and what to expect from everybody.”
With APX Net’s customer first approach and expert project management, Saber Healthcare’s DIA sourcing headaches are gone, enabling the IT team to focus its energy on delivering technological enhancements to patient care.