Equra Health, the leading provider of radiation therapy facility services in South Africa, has chosen eNetworks as its key technology partner to enable better efficiencies throughout the company’s IT network infrastructure.
Operating from its headquarters in Cape Town, Equra Health is part of a network of 26 radiation therapy oncology centres across the country. Two new facilities are currently under construction in Lenasia (Soweto) and Kimberley. The company’s focus is to expand its footprint in South Africa to afford cancer care to more South Africans. Equra Health is an accredited and endorsed partner of the Independent Clinical Oncology Network (ICON).
Equra Health is strategically positioned to offer radiation therapy services to the wider sub-Saharan African population and is a partner for private and public third party funders of clinical care in oncology.
Remaining on the cusp of cancer diagnosis and treatment services means integrating the latest specialist medical technology into Equra’s operations. With a new range of multi-million rand Linac Accelerators designed for the treatment of cancer cells in the body, Equra needed exceptional network performance and the ability to connect securely to its data centres.
“Our oncology devices have very specific and demanding network requirements,” explains Equra’s CIO, Rod Russell. “They are extremely sensitive to any latency or instability. Even the slightest drop in performance normally means we need to start the imaging session from scratch.”
These units send large volumes of data back to the data centre, where sophisticated planning tools match the treatment with the appropriate radiation therapy treatment.
Russell adds that: “Our network requirements also entail a significant degree of customisation on top of the standard features, to cater for Equra’s unique business applications and business processes.”
Equra selected eNetworks, due to its established reputation as a provider of high-performance and tailored network solutions.
It was a challenge that Wayne Crocker, Business Development Manager at eNetworks, says carried a huge weight of responsibility: “We quickly recognised the emotional aspects of this. Considering the nature of Equra’s work, patients are often in a distressed or highly anxious state. It’s essential for Equra to offer professional service at every step of the way – and the idea of having to interrupt the treatment process needed to be avoided.”
eNetworks chose a consolidated set of technology solutions, enabled by the eNetworks backbone. “We facilitate and manage the entire network,” Crocker notes, “with a very stringent service level agreement of 99.9%. With policy-based routing, the network design is ever-changing, which Russell explains is critical to Equra’s future growth and innovation: “We needed a solution that can dynamically change on a quarterly or even a monthly basis. So now, we can adapt the technology that’s delivered to each of our practices and bring new practices on-stream more easily than before.
“Our business requirements are now dictating how the network evolves, rather than us being constrained by the limitations of technology. We’re able to send information around the network – from new services and new practices – without affecting our core mission-critical systems.”
Based on the success of the networking solution, Equra asked eNetworks to host its associated computing requirements. Crocker says this involved migrating Equra’s computing environment to eNetwork’s data centre at Teraco, with state-of-the-art storage and disaster recovery services. Both the primary and the secondary data centre sites have redundant connectivity, through different service providers, to enable load balancing and full redundancy.
“With seamless policy-based routing between the primary data centre and the disaster recovery site, the whole environment is now monitored and managed by the Datacentrix enterprise solutions team – with high levels of security.”
Another workstream quickly kicked-off, where Datacentrix was asked to provide end-user support for Equra’s nationwide footprint of radiation therapy facilities, from a managed service desk.
Russell says that consolidating so many IT services within one key technology partner has enabled better efficiencies. As the burden of daily IT management is increasingly passed off to eNetworks and Datacentrix, Russell’s internal team can focus on business transformation: “We’re now able to spend more time partnering with business stakeholders, exploring breakthrough oncology technology, such as 3D imaging and ensuring that patients are comforted by high levels of care during what is often a very difficult time.”