Healthcare IT is changing rapidly, with new levels of connectivity that allow patients’ electronic medical records (EMRs) to follow them from one appointment to the next. This offers better care for patients, but it also adds a few healthcare networking challenges.
The increased availability of Internet of Things (IoT) devices allows healthcare professionals to access patient information, providing a more seamless experience for patients and a better-informed diagnostic process. Records can be accessed from any device, at any time, with the proper credentials, and patients’ prescription lists and other details will appear to all their healthcare providers, allowing for a more cohesive healthcare experience.
The challenge to healthcare IT: Networking challenges are among the biggest hurdles facing healthcare IT, and this is partly because the flow of data has increased dramatically. Those transmissions are not only coming through the network, but there may be many points of contact with cloud servers and devices as data is processed and analyzed for business purposes.
In addition to the increased traffic, healthcare IT must also manage the challenge of endpoint security. Each device presents an opportunity for loss or theft, as well as an endpoint that could be compromised by a cyberattack. Healthcare professionals need to receive training for appropriately securing their IoT devices with strong passwords and short hibernation times.
The need for increased visibility: With so many devices affecting healthcare networking, it is critical for network managers to be able to see and troubleshoot problems. The number of devices accessing the network through IoT technology can cause congestion, and with an expectation that records be available anytime, anywhere, the pressure is on network management to be able to locate, identify, and solve problems.
The ability to segment out network traffic is also valuable. If IoT traffic is segmented from video conferencing, for instance, it will make it easier to isolate a potential breach and keep it from affecting the rest of the network applications.
The impact of an outage: In some situations, network congestion can simply cause an inconvenience, preventing a healthcare professional from retrieving records during a routine office visit. Appointment times, diagnostic testing results, and drug interactions are important pieces of information that patients need the ability to immediately access. In other settings, a network problem can truly create a life-or-death situation, which is why healthcare networking must provide a high level of visibility into the infrastructure.
SimpleWAN can equip your healthcare network with the level of visibility and control you need to deliver timely patient care. Contact us for more information about solutions that support your current technology, as well as your future plans.