Case Study: Touro College of Dental Medicine Transforms Education & Clinical Care through Digital Dentistry

Introduction
Touro College of Dental Medicine at New York Medical College (TCDM) was established in 2016 as the first new dental school in New York State in 50 years. With that in mind, TCDM was designed from the ground up to provide students and faculty access to the latest digital platforms in dentistry as well as to offer affordable dental care to the public.

TCDM chose Hudson River CIO Advisors to design and deploy the IT infrastructure needed to transform the traditional approach to dental training and practice to one that incorporates the tools of modern digital dentistry.

Hudson River CIO relies on colocation at TierPoint’s Hawthorne, NY, data center, which provides high bandwidth to deliver the high-end graphic displays required by Citrix systems; the Disaster Recovery services required for HIPAA compliance; business continuity services for an operations center in a secure, climate-controlled facility; and high-speed data connections to TierPoint’s national data center network.

Touro Dental College Faces IT Infrastructure Challenges

Dentistry is evolving rapidly through new digital dentistry processes. Designing the right IT infrastructure for digital dentistry and education was one of the first challenges in creating TCDM in 2016.

The first bids TCDM received were for a typical dental school IT installation: a network of individual PC workstations. Not only are these networks difficult to maintain, they are a logistical nightmare from a security standpoint.

In addition, digital dentistry requires fast, high-end graphics workstations for 3D dental scans and modeling. These new technologies are typically deployed by private dental practices and are not designed for enterprise scale. TCDM wanted to build a platform that would bring the latest digital technology to students, faculty and patients.

Mike Schreibman, co-founder of Hudson River CIO Advisors, said, “The platform needed to accommodate the fluidity of classroom activity: an infrastructure that allows people to quickly move from place to place; fast login and load times for 3D graphics; and two-factor  authentication for hundreds of simultaneous users.”

The solution also needed to integrate a practice management system and the Microsoft Office Suite. And the system would need to extend from the academic setting to become part of the clinic, providing everything that goes along with securing and maintaining patient records and ensuring HIPAA compliance.

It quickly became apparent that the old model of networked PCs, used for decades, would not work. What Touro College of Dental Medicine needed was unprecedented.

TierPoint Offers Data Center Solution

Hudson River CIO’s solution centered on using thin clients and an NVIDIA powered Citrix environment, enabling the school to have a high-end graphics system without all the gear required in a PC-based system. The approach depended on TierPoint’s data center capabilities, including fiber optic connection to the school and the GPU-enabled servers.

The thin client solution transformed the foundation of the dental school, the simulation lab. For the first two years of study, students spend about 1500 hours of instruction in the simulation lab developing their hand skills, training on the digital tools, and learning the processes they need to work on live patients. The simulation lab has 112 seats, each like a mini dental office, where students take instruction and work on projects with lifelike manikins. 

Having a thin client at each of these stations gives TCDM the power to have a master instructor demonstrate procedures to the entire classroom at the same time. Whether broadcasting PowerPoint slides or high definition video, the thin client structure enables everyone to view the instructor’s actions close up. 

Learning in the simulation lab also involves students using new 3D high-definition scanners and state of the art software to design and create crowns for their “patients.” Using 3D images to model the crown to specifications, students then send instructions to a CNC milling machine that will take a block of porcelain and precisely cut the crown.

The GPU-enabled servers housed at TierPoint, and direct fiber optic cable to the client enable this process for 115 students at the same time without lag.

In designing the system, Hudson CIO’s Schreibman said, “We looked for hyperconverged GPU-enabled servers to send Citrix sessions out to the thin clients, coupled with fast connectivity between the data center and the school. Even the dentists who have high-end graphics workstations at their own practice were impressed with the speed and resolution.”

The design also scales well, so TCDM could grow from the first class of 115 students to 600 students and faculty, and to 110 dental chairs, with very little effort.

Security issues in a healthcare environment are challenging. The solution for TCDM was to employ the Imprivata platform for authentication management and virtual desktop roaming. This allows people to tap a card, enter a pin number and take their session with them as they go from operatory to operatory, or within the simulation lab as they form different workgroups. Students and faculty can log on to any of 550 workstations in the building, quickly and securely. The solution also enables users to securely login remotely and continue to work from  anywhere, while maintaining patient records in the TierPoint data center for HIPAA compliance.

TierPoint’s data center is central to TCDMs IT infrastructure. TierPoint’s entire data center network is interconnected and offers dark fiber,  resulting in low latency and high bandwidth availability. The Hawthorne, NY, data center is HIPAA compliant, including disaster recovery and business continuity resources, which Hudson River CIO Advisors has used to build an operations center inside the TierPoint facility.

“Knowing that we’ve got high speed data connections to other TierPoint data centers means my clients can rest assured that their systems will always be up and running because the same quality of people and processes, physical security, air conditioning, power, UPS, and  backup generators they experience now is replicated nationwide,” said Schreibman.

“Whenever we talk to potential clients, they’re always concerned about data security, physical security, firewalls, and what kind of procedures and systems we have to ensure that their data and the equipment are safe. Once we take them through a tour of TierPoint’s data center, you can see them start to relax,” he said.

Through the partnership with Hudson River CIO Advisors and TierPoint, TCDM boasts a fully digital ecosystem for dentistry to be taught and performed with the latest platforms, in a way that is resilient, scalable and adaptive as technology evolves. The thin client deployment is easier to maintain than individual PCs, resulting in higher reliability and lower support staffing needs.

Using Citrix and NVIDIA GPU-enabled servers they deliver fast, high-resolution 3D graphics modeling and enhanced instruction techniques. Workstation access for users is easy yet secure, and patient records are HIPAA compliant.

 “Whenever we talk to potential clients, they always ask about data security, physical security, power and data circuit redundancy, and the systems we have to ensure that their data and equipment are safe. Once we take them through a tour of TierPoint’s data center, you can see them start to relax.”

Dr. Alan Jurim

Director of Digital Dentistry, Touro College of Dental Medicine

AT A GLANCE

Industry
Healthcare/Education

Technology
Colocation

TierPoint Customer
Hudson River CIO Advisors

Challenge
Designing IT infrastructure for state-of-the-art digital dentistry education and clinical care.

Solution
Thin clients, GPU-enabled servers and the Imprivata platform create a digital ecosystem that is flexible for student learning and secure for patient data.

Results
High reliability, low latency thin clients; highly secure, HIPAA compliant operations in a multiple-user environment; ability to scale and while continuously evaluating and iterating state of the art dental and IT technology.

Watch video
In Our Customers’ Words 

Website
www.dental.touro.edu