Baptist Health | Medical Center and Children’s Hospital

Written by Uniti Fiber

June 26, 2023


Jim Bilsky | VP, Enterprise I.T. Operations—Baptist Health:        

Baptist Health is a health system in northeast Florida. We have six hospitals, multiple freestanding emergency departments, and a large ambulatory suite of practices, including family practice, behavioral health, neurology, and cardiology that supports the residents of Northeast Florida. Our mission is giving back to the community and taking care of the community, which is one of the purposes and reasons I’m here. It’s bigger than just technology for me. It’s how we make a difference in the community and the community we serve each and every day. And through that, we have considerable growth that we’ve experienced. We’re here on the Bowery Tower, which is the new NICU tower that opened a couple years ago. We recently opened a hospital in Clay County. So as we’re spread throughout the community, but centralized from an IT infrastructure perspective, connectivity of all our remote locations is critical in being able to have the facilities deliver the services that are needed for serving the patients such as radiology, cardiology, and other services that the patients may need at the time of arrival.

So having that connectivity reliable and secure is critical in what we do and what I do as part of my operational aspects of ensuring that service is delivered every day. With the importance of connectivity, having a reliable partner is something that’s paramount to making sure that we deliver our services effectively across the board. And a few years ago, we underwent a selection to identify a partner to provide that high capacity, reliable bandwidth connections to our ambulatory and acute locations throughout the area. After we selected Uniti, we began the project to build out the infrastructure and the connectivity to the locations. We’re assigned a project manager, a project team, operational team members, both on the Baptist and Uniti side. And collaboratively we worked through the scheduling and physical build out at the needed capacity and the needed network to make all this happen. That was a fairly smooth process overall, took several months, obviously it’s big and complex, but through the relationship it went effectively and smoothly and something that, from my perspective, went very, very well across the board.

Though technically there’s always hurdles. It’s how we engage to overcome those hurdles. That to me is the true test of the partnership that we have. And Uniti certainly has provided that partnership and has exceeded my expectations on that front. As with any technology, there will always be challenges. It’s how we engage, how do we work to resolve those and how do we do that in a timely manner, especially from my perspective, since it really does matter to patient lives if we have an interruption of service. So how we engage to get services restored if there’s an outage. And that partnership is paramount and has been very successful and very well received on the Baptist side. So we currently leverage dark fiber services, internet services, cloud connection from our data center to Azure through Uniti and have been very pleased with both the reliability and performance metrics.

And they’re certainly meeting our expectations and exceeding in many cases. For us, the network is critical infrastructure. Being in Florida, obviously with hurricanes, we’re registered with the Department of Homeland for being identified as services to be stored first in case of outages. The Uniti team has helped us complete that registration and ensures that we stay on track with that. So it is very critical to the operations of the facility and the care our patients receive each and every day that the infrastructure is there all the time. We are seven days a week, 365 days a year, 24 hours each day, and it never fails. And for us, that’s the true test and what we deliver and strive for all the time.

If someone asked me why I chose Uniti or what they should consider in choosing Uniti, I would say the partnership and shared values and relationship. Look at it from a long-term perspective, a partner perspective, not the individual transaction because it’s a long-term relationship and you need somebody who’s going to be a partner in good times as well as bad times. And that is the testament of a good solid partner.

*The testimonial transcript has been edited from the original video content to provide an improved reading experience.
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