By Duane Cameron
May 27, 2020 (San Diego) - In mid-March as our country, and the world, was dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, it was clear to Dr. Patrick A. Frias, President & CEO of Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, that they were facing an unprecedented challenge. Cases of COVID-19 were rising in San Diego County, requiring the hospital to enact strict distancing measures and virtual doctor visits to protect its immune-compromised young patients. Additionally, California’s shelter-in-place order requiring all non-essential workers to do their jobs from home threatened to overwhelm Rady Children’s online systems, which are crucial to all aspects of the hospital’s operations, from medical equipment to security.
That’s when Dr. Frias and Rady Children’s Vice President of Information Management and CIO Albert Oriol reached out to Erica Burk, Post-Sales Process Director at Cox Business, for an emergency request to upgrade the hospital’s internet bandwidth. That mission-critical update, which took place on March 19, meant Rady Children’s was able to continue its work seamlessly, even in these unusual circumstances—and enabled them to offer open beds to young adult patients if necessary to ease the burden on other local hospitals.
Rady Children’s is one of San Diego’s critically important life-saving institutions, and the work its staff does is essential to the region, especially during a pandemic. Cox Business knew how important it was to fulfill Rady Children’s request, and to do it in record time.
“During times like these, it’s reassuring to have partners like Cox,” said Oriol. “We had an urgent need for Cox to upgrade its equipment so that we could double our bandwidth to enable a surge in remote work and telemedicine. Cox proved to be very agile in expediting our request and took care of us in a matter of days instead of weeks. The quick response from Cox allowed us to better support our staff, who in turn have been able to continue to provide the best care for our patients.”
Upgrading a system as large as Rady Children’s, though, was no simple task. “This was not a typical upgrade, as it required complex planning and coordination,” said Burk, “including a physical port move onsite and taking services down temporarily during the port swap.”
As soon as it was determined what needed to be done, Cox Business Order Manager Cesar Reyes stepped in to help. “Being a hospital, they have backup providers just in case, but you prefer not to take down your primary service,” said Reyes who coordinated the execution of this project. “When we asked Rady Children's when they could afford to be down, they said, ‘10 p.m.’ so we quickly asked our team for volunteers to work after hours.”
The call was answered immediately. That same night, the Cox Business team worked as fast as they could and had Rady Children's Hospital powered down and back up again—with its upgraded bandwidth—in 30 minutes.
“When you’re running a large hospital, the idea of suddenly and drastically changing your operations is daunting. But in the face of an emergency like COVID-19, it’s necessary to keep providing outstanding patient care,” said Dr. Frias. “We’re grateful we had the technology, solutions and support in place to easily adapt to those uncertain circumstances, so we could do our part to flatten the curve in San Diego County and beyond.”
Duane Cameron is vice president for Cox Business. Cox has contributed nearly $8 million in cash and in-kind COVID-19 related contributions throughout its Southern California markets, including San Diego, Orange County, Palos Verdes and Santa Barbara.