Riverbed Lends a Hand to Australia’s Largest Waiting Room


Royal Flying Doctors Service

Earlier this month we told the story about how the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section), one of our customers, is using Riverbed solutions to help improve life-saving healthcare services and accelerate their cloud-first strategy.

The pilots, doctors, engineers and operational staff of the Queensland Section of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS QLD) tend to a waiting room that spans 7.3 million square kilometres across this wide, brown land we call Australia.

From the outback to the tropics, the iconic aeromedical service reaches one person every two minutes, providing fly-in, fly-out GP, nursing and allied health clinics, as well as urgent patient transfers, to the country’s most rural and remote communities.

It’s difficult to overestimate how much the work of the RFDS QLD has changed the lives of many Australians since it first took to the skies in 1928. Urgent care can sometimes be thousands of kilometres away.

Throughout its journey, the organisation has had to overcome challenges associated with having a workforce spread so broadly across the country, and how to handle life-critical communications in areas with little to no connectivity.

The IT team has also had to balance and combine the needs of a medical provider with that of an aviation business. This has been tricky, to say the least.

Technology infrastructure and network performance have been key pillars upon which the RFDS QLD is built, enabling it to grow and enhance its service.

From patient data and emergency procedures to flight plans and aircraft maintenance, RFDS QLD staff require secure access to critical stats that allow them to get their job done.

The RFDS QLD IT system also needs to supports the transmission of thousands of emails per hour, as well as bandwidth-intensive video content that’s vital for training field staff.

To enhance the visibility and performance of the network, support new cloud-based services and reduce the chance of outages, the RFDS QLD looked to Riverbed for a software-as-service (SaaS) alternative to purchasing more network bandwidth.

Supported by Riverbed partner Zero1, the RFDS QLD trialled a proof-of-concept based on Riverbed SteelHead SaaS to accelerate the speed of its critical applications. SteelCentral NetExpress also improved network and infrastructure visibility.

Within months, the RFDS QLD reduced bandwidth use by 70% while accelerating the delivery of applications.

All services are now optimised for mobile, meaning the use of these devices across the RFDS QLD workforce is seamless. Staff no longer need to wait around for important content to appear on their screens while they’re out on the road, or in the air. Productivity and satisfaction across its 400 administrative staff has also been boosted.

IT staff have noticed an immediate change in application performance. With increased network visibility, they can see where legacy equipment or misconfigured applications are taking up valuable bandwidth and address these concerns immediately. This new level of insight has been critical as the organisation progressively moves its technology further into the cloud.

Perhaps the greatest piece of feedback from the RFDS QLD team though throughout this transformation has been the new capacity to focus more proactively on improving IT systems, rather than overcoming network outages.

This means they’re now able to direct more time to the core mission—delivering excellent healthcare services to the people of Queensland.

It’s not every day that we’re able to partner with an organisation as iconic as the Royal Flying Doctor Service, or enhance what’s been the cornerstone of their important work for 90 years.

It’s onwards and upwards for the RFDS QLD and we’re proud to be powering its flight to the cloud.

Read more about our work with the RFDS QLD here.


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