Digital transformation and innovation in healthcare have become essential factors to provide patients with convenient access to timely medical care.
More than ever, hospitals and other organizations in the healthcare ecosystem rely on network infrastructure to ensure information flows freely, accurately, and reliably. While most of the healthcare data traffic generated by IT devices flows through the cloud, sensitive patient data needs to be properly managed and secured according to regulatory requirements. Data security and data protection are a crucial challenge.
Few commercial spaces can even come close to meeting the computing needs of a modern healthcare facility or hospital. Fast and reliable transmission of information is business-critical, physical security and data security must meet strict regulatory standards, dispersed staff and patients require far-reaching connectivity, and both inventory and equipment must be accurately managed.
In addition, the value of the Internet of Medical Things market will reach US$158 billion worldwide this year. The growth of healthcare-focused Internet of Things (IoT) devices and wearables, rising healthcare data breaches, and the adoption of telemedicine, clinical informatics, and mobile initiatives have prompted healthcare organizations to invest in infrastructure modernization.
The healthcare industry is changing rapidly, driven by new technologies and patient expectations. Here are three key areas public and private healthcare organizations need to consider as they accelerate their own transformation and innovation.
Patient safety, data security in digitized healthcare
Modern healthcare networks are under increasing pressure to meet the increasing demand for telemedicine. The accelerated digitization of healthcare has brought patient and staff safety, data security and privacy into focus.
Leveraging health data and ensuring privacy and regulatory compliance are essential factors in reliable healthcare delivery. Actionable insights are derived from data collected across mobile healthcare applications and wearables to improve patient care. They help care teams promote clinical best practices.
Aside from data centers that store sensitive patient and medical data, patient care is regulated and life depends on the network. Therefore, standards-compliant connectivity—from the server room to the ER, from the nursery to the nurses’ station—is critical.
Infrastructure security must prevent unauthorized access by an unauthorized person. It should also detect and prevent unauthorized access by an authorized person by tracking all physical layer changes in real time.
IT operating technology synergies for intelligent and efficient healthcare
Modern healthcare organizations rely on the free and timely flow of information to operate efficiently. With increasing pressure to do more with fewer resources, healthcare organizations need solutions that help optimize operational expenses (OpEx) as key systems become more connected and capable.
With this goal in mind, IT and operational technology teams can develop common avenues of efficiencies to achieve the industry’s ultimate success metric – improved patient outcomes and patient experience. The healthcare industry is constantly striving to provide affordable, quality care to a growing number of patients while reducing operating costs.
The IT infrastructure plays a major role in optimizing operations. Sharing a common physical network unlocks the potential for more efficient network management and plant operations.
When collaborating on a converged network, IT and operations technology teams are leveraging IoT capabilities that have led to exponential growth in the number of wired and wireless network devices and PoE requirements.
For example, Wi-Fi 6/6E connects smart beds, oxygen monitors, and real-time access to X-ray images, among other applications for staff alerts and patient monitoring. IoT adoption has also gained traction in lighting, HVAC, physical security, asset tracking, smart parking, smart locks, and security cameras. These real-world IoT deployments rely on a complex and expensive set of network protocols, devices, and disparate management tools.
Patient experience at the heart of the future of healthcare
Healthcare is changing, with the patient experience at the heart of everything from patient care to personalized healthcare. The advent of digital technologies is helping to improve remote patient monitoring and care to achieve the best possible outcomes. At the same time, monitoring and control of patient experience, staff productivity, recruitment and inventory can be greatly improved through simpler and automated processes.
The bottom line is that healthcare organizations need to find an intelligent balance between operational efficiency and patient experience while supporting next-generation services like telemedicine and virtual intensive care units. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data analytics provides insights that improve patient care while reducing healthcare costs.
According to an Accenture report, 84% of healthcare leaders believe AI will fundamentally change how healthcare providers receive information from patients and interact with consumers. For example, AI tools analyzing data from personal healthcare devices, IoT solutions, DNA testing, genome sequencing, electronic health records, and more are helping physicians personalize treatments and experiences for each patient.