The demand for remote access to healthcare over the past few years has changed how the entire healthcare industry provides care outside the walls of a medical facility. .
This shift has accelerated the digital transformation of the healthcare industry, which has led to the development of online platforms to support this revolution. As the days of remote-only care continue to advance, digital transformation is critical to helping achieve the industry’s vision of in-person and remote care capabilities. The fluidity of care raises the importance of cybersecurity as more and more medical devices require networks. With continued digitization efforts, hospitals and other healthcare providers need to invest in advanced connectivity solutions to help keep digital tools and systems working well.
The challenges of digitization in healthcare
The challenges of digitization in a healthcare facility are large and varied. An ongoing issue for the healthcare industry is the large amount of data that needs to be processed. Each patient is associated with a wide range of individual data, including demographics, genomics, clinical history, medications, laboratory data, sensors, vitals and more. A hospital must also consider categories of data sources including administrative data, inventory, personnel, environmental, and others. Organizing all this data in a meaningful way is a daunting task; Accessing and transmitting all that data can create bottlenecks, or data silos, that slow down clinicians and administrators. More bandwidth is needed to open up data silos so that healthcare professionals can tap into critical data in time-sensitive situations.
Another big challenge is cybersecurity. Hackers are increasingly targeting healthcare providers, as they contain sensitive information and critical systems, access to which can prove lucrative for threat actors. As medical facilities continue to digitize, many medical devices and equipment are connected to networks through IoMT (Internet of Medical Things) technology. Connected devices can provide many advantages, including maintenance and resource utilization, but they can also create new entry points for threat actors. Once a hacker gains access to one machine, they are more likely to infiltrate other similar machines connected to the same network with malware.
Although the challenges seem great, they pale in comparison to not moving. It can be a seamless process with some helpful solutions that can be easily integrated into the health care setting, with a strong and reliable connection.
Private 5G and Mobile Edge Compute (MEC) — a powerful combination of connectivity
A truly connected hospital requires the free flow of information. The opening of the aforementioned data silos, however, requires more bandwidth, a task that will help to achieve the right private 5G solution. A dedicated, local network, private 5G offers high availability and high reliability for any organization that needs near-instant access to mission-critical information. Private 5G provides low latency and enhanced security.
The MEC can connect a hospital full of medical devices with a private onsite 5G network, processing and storing data locally to support the most critical and sensitive applications. It also facilitates connection to remote data centers or other off-site locations, if necessary, through a secure SD WAN connection. This setup delivers improved data security, increased flexibility and peace of mind.
Private 5G and MEC combine the power of 5G connectivity and edge computing to deliver near-real-time data and insights that make a variety of healthcare services possible. Having the MEC closer to the network infrastructure and, therefore, closer to the IoMT devices and end users enables near real-time processing of the biometric data generated by the devices. Edge analytics can filter and analyze data to create near-real-time insights that inform healthcare decision-making.
With this setup, near real-time interaction between healthcare providers and medical devices becomes possible. This brand of near-real-time, personalized, data-driven healthcare helps drive better healthcare outcomes, which, ultimately, is the mission of any provider. in health care.
Not all connections are the same
There’s no question that connected hospitals are the future, but healthcare providers need to consider that not all connections are created equal. Security, low latency and advanced analytics must be included so that healthcare providers can realize the full potential of connectivity solutions in healthcare settings. Controlling, using and securing data is paramount in an increasingly digital world, and critical for hospitals seeking to streamline operations and improve care.
Digitalization has changed the way our healthcare space operates in just a few short years. Through the collaboration of technologies, healthcare facilities can change the ‘definition of care’ now and in the future.