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Eds, Meds, & the Need for High-Speed Fiber

As Pittsburghers, we recognize the hospitals and universities’ extraordinary role in transforming the economic landscape and physical geography. While many cities struggled with economic downturns over the last two decades, Pittsburgh transformed itself into a high-tech research and development hub. We have the university and healthcare innovators to thank for this transformation.

Ensuring all the necessary resources are available, including fast and secure network solutions, is vital to support the cutting-edge research of universities and hospitals’ life-changing healthcare delivery. A strong fiber network is one critical tool to support the unprecedented growth both industries are experiencing. Here are several significant reasons why.

Improved Access

Two years ago, no one would have predicted the rise in telemedicine and virtual learning. Yet both have become ubiquitous in today’s world. Robust fiber optic connectivity helps doctors connect with their patients through virtual visits; telehealth appointments can ensure doctors can confirm visual symptoms for appropriate diagnoses. Allegheny Health Network even launched a virtual ICU during the pandemic.

For professors, real-time classroom instruction can occur virtually with students from all reaches of the globe. According to the Harvard Business Review, the future of university learning may look significantly different because of virtual instruction.


Patient and student information protection is vital for the eds and meds communities. Digitization of records provides incredible benefits but also exposes significant vulnerabilities. However, fiber optics offer secure and reliable connectivity for universities and hospitals. Fiber optic cables present more challenges to hacking than other types of lines and are safer because they are resistant to water, electrical interference and extreme pressure.


Communications with colleagues have been significantly improved for health care providers because of strong fiber networks. Frequently patients require treatment from multiple specialists who may not be in the same place at the same time. This type of consultation can occur instantly with secure, high-speed fiber networks.

Likewise, collaborations with colleagues worldwide have been significantly enhanced with university researchers. Due to improved speed, reliability, same up and download speeds, concurrently conducting research in Pittsburgh and Peru is not only possible but now allows for real-time collaboration. A perfect example is CMU’s upcoming free Intersect@CMU, which will focus on critical issues of sustainability that will include international panelists during the virtual conference.

Streamlined Administrative Tasks

Universities and hospitals also benefit from fiber networks to efficiently manage routine administrative tasks. In health care, digital automation is used for nearly every process, from patient records to billing to supply chain management and quality control. We see automation in scheduling, grading, student records and other areas when it comes to universities. By speeding up these processes with cloud-based technology and secure methods of communication, staff can spend their time more efficiently.

A recent article in HealthTech Magazine highlights the benefits of digitally streamlined tasks for staff located in multiple locations.

Real-Time Monitoring

For patients with chronic health conditions, access to immediate data on their vital health signs is crucial for survival. One example would be diabetic patients, who must monitor their blood sugar levels. Another is heart patients who need to monitor such conditions as hypertension or heart failure; tracking their heart rate and blood pressure is necessary. While monitors like Fitbits and glucose monitors are excellent at capturing this information, they require high-speed connectivity to ensure data is immediately available to health care providers, allowing immediate alerts to be sent in the event an issue arises.

Supporting these vital industries’ growth will benefit all Pittsburghers through better health care, new job growth and increased educational opportunities. As healthcare and higher education become increasingly digitized, reliable connectivity becomes more and more essential. Both industries will soon need to partner with a technology provider that offers solutions backed up by a fast and secure network.

DQE can be your partner, and your solution. Contact us today to learn more about our various fiber-based services.