Stethoscopes and tongue depressors will probably never go out of style, but the healthcare tools of the 21st century are increasingly digital with medical professionals and their patients relying on network-connected devices.
To provide the best care possible in the age of the Internet of Things (IoT) the healthcare industry depends on sound technology infrastructure that can handle the bandwidth demands of Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and blockchain tools, and biomedical Internet-connected devices.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this technology-driven healthcare focus with telehealth consultations and access to patient data in the cloud key to remote care for people in self-isolation.
Telehealth was already on the rapid rise with Forbes reporting in 2019 that telehealth patients rose from one million in 2015 to seven million in 2018.
Interconnectivity within the walls of hospitals and other medical facilities, as well as connectivity to other buildings within a complex, or even across town, are needed to keep all the mobile devices and processes running smoothly.
The average hospital room in 2020 already has approximately 20 connected devices and the healthcare industry will need high-quality, all-fiber infrastructure as next generation technology arrives.
Healthcare Industry Embraces Next Generation Technology
Technology innovation in healthcare runs the gamut from the simple to the complex.
The core doctor-patient relationship is migrating from traditional pen and paper note-and-record taking to medical staff using connected tablets that provide easy storage and access of patient data and history.
With the quick touch of a stylus, patient data such as imaging or lab results are accessed, prescriptions are sent to pharmacies, history is updated, and future appointments set.
On the complex end, IoT wearable devices allow medical staff to monitor patients’ vitals and provides access for technology manufacturers to service the devices via the Internet.
According to the HIT Infrastructure publication: “There can be as many as three or four times more IoT connected medical devices in a provider building than traditional networked devices such as laptops, or smartphones.”
For a large hospital that traditionally had 30,000 networked devices, the number is now closer to 85,000 IoT devices.
Healthcare IT New reported in an article in February that “Overall, healthcare data grew 878% from 2016 to 2018, with much of it coming from sensors, wearables and mobile apps for preventative care and chronic disease management.”
New Technology Puts Security and Privacy at the Forefront
The healthcare industry was initially slow to embrace the digitalization of patient records for fear of privacy concerns and security breaches.
The advent of cloud hosting from companies such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft, however, coupled with the increasing data storage demands, has led most healthcare providers to a hybrid cloud migration as part of their infrastructure optimization.
Medical records are no longer kept only on-site behind a firewall.
In fact, as of April 2018, West Monroe Partners reported that 35 percent of healthcare providers hosted more than 50 percent of their data or infrastructure in the cloud.
The security concerns remain with Christopher Logan of VMware telling Healthcare IT News that the “Sophistication and frequency of cyberattacks are increasingly placing a strain across all sectors, especially in healthcare. In order to navigate these complex and dynamic environments, healthcare organizations and their leaders must have a strong investment in digital technologies, and an even larger investment on cybersecurity strategies.”
Private and secure network solutions, such as the facilities-based network owned and operated by PS LIGHTWAVE in the greater Houston area, is an ideal method for healthcare providers to safeguard confidential patient information.
PS LIGHTWAVE offers increased reliability and redundancy with its core network through data ring protection. Network speed will not lag during peak usage as PS LIGHTWAVE monitors its client’s networks – we know that every second is precious when it comes to the healthcare industry.
Contact us for more information on how we can design a private virtual network to help your healthcare group provide 21st century care.
PS LIGHTWAVE provides high-speed, fiber Internet for public and private commercial entities in the Greater Houston and surrounding areas.
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