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Better Wi-Fi Means Better Healthcare

by Daniel Faurlin
Posted08.08.18 Healthcare IoT LAN Trends WLAN
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Doctor touching medical icon network connection on laptop and tablet with modern virtual screen interface, medical technology network concept

 

If you are even a little familiar with healthcare today it probably doesn’t come as a shock to you that 90% of healthcare organizations use or plan to use mobile devices and 93% of physicians believe that mobile health apps can improve patient’s health. From single clinic environments to large urban multi-site healthcare facilities, clinicians need to be connected and they need to be mobile.

 

But what am I to looking for?

Cost efficiency, simplicity, and reliability are high on the consideration list when it comes to thinking about Wi-Fi for healthcare so budgets need to be carefully managed by healthcare providers. A solution that is affordable with a low total cost of ownership (TCO) and can easily incorporate smart and Internet of Things (IoT) devices will tick some of the boxes. Other things you need to consider:

  • Ensure the solution provides enough bandwidth for applications such as PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication Systems), EHR (Electroni c Health Records) systems such as Cerner and EPIC, and 4K UHD imaging for X-Rays, MRI’s and video surgery systems
  • High quality streaming, VoIP and mobile devices are a reality, so throughput is essential for wired and wireless devices so that staff, patients and visitors don’t have to compete for quality access
  • Access Points (APs) aesthetics are important; APs can’t be too big, invasive or disruptive to patient rooms or in common areas; and they need to be ruggedized for outdoor spaces
  • The solution needs to handle high-density areas such as waiting rooms, conference rooms and cafeterias and be rugged enough for exterior spaces

A Wi-Fi healthcare solution should deliver the connectivity, performance and security that your clinicians, staff, patients and visitors deserve.

 

Growing expectations

It’s become the norm to expect really good Wi-Fi everywhere, including in healthcare facilities. Clinicians need to have ultra high-speed connections and bandwidth as well as ubiquitous coverage to deliver expanding new healthcare services. A 2017 finding indicated that the number of remotely monitored patients grew to 7.1 million. That’s a whopping 44 percent increase over 2016, and wait for it, that number is expected to reach 50.2 million by 2021.

But healthcare providers are not the only users, consumers use of mobile and tablet health apps (in the U.S.) has tripled over the past four years, from 16 percent in 2014 to 48 percent today. In addition, patients and visitors at healthcare facilities expect trouble-free access to everything online, no matter where they are or what they’re doing. Whether folks are in a hospital, a clinic or other healthcare environment, they expect to be able to watch TV and videos online, chat, instant message, interact with social media and perhaps even work using their smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.

 

Security first

Be forewarned, the healthcare industry is not immune to data breaches. In 2014, 12.5 million electronic health records were breached. Compare that to the 113 million records that were breached in 2015, enough said.

Maintaining the confidentiality and security of patient data is paramount. A compromised healthcare organization in this digital world can lead to legal actions and regulatory fines that can bring a provider to its knees – just ask HIPAA in the USA and GDPR the EU. Security that resides at the perimeter of a solution is no longer adequate. Security must be built-in to the Wi-Fi network architecture which uses a layered security approach, to make it as difficult as possible for would-be cyber attackers to access the critical information and resources on the network.

 

A solution for healthy performance

Healthcare providers need a solution that delivers simple, efficient enterprise-grade Wi-Fi and ensures the best experience for patients, staff and visitors across the healthcare site. Fundamental to providing seamless mobility across your healthcare facility is the wireless LAN.

 Maybe you are a standalone provider, or a large multi-site facility, or maybe you land somewhere in the middle. No matter your size, the Alcatel-Lucent OmniAccess® Stellar WLAN product range offers easy to use enterprise-grade features at an affordable price. From entry-level, to high-range, indoor and outdoor, our access points address your needs.

The distributed intelligent architecture lets you control each access point to ensure better coverage, better bandwidth allocation, better user experience. IoT containment makes it easy to create function-specific networks. For example, you can create a network for devices used exclusively by doctors and nurses, a security network for cameras, access control and intrusion detection, a network to support facilities and an administration network. Although they use the same network infrastructure, they are securely separated from each other and cyber attackers.

 

Network management matters

When it comes to network management, if you are a healthcare provider that operates a standalone or smaller premises, a Wi-Fi solution that lets you manage access points directly from your web browser is what you are looking for. Access points that can be automatically added with simple set up to identify who can have access, when, where and for how long, is ideal.

For larger, multi-site healthcare facilities, unified network management that lets you manage both your LAN and WLAN with a single dashboard, can ease day-to-day operations. It can provide secure mobility, and smart analytics on network activity. It lets you manage access for clinicians and staff, and automatically and securely on-board devices, and it lets you scale quickly.

 

New healthcare services open new possibilities

Digital healthcare services offer fantastic new possibilities for delivering positive patient outcomes. Currently 44%  of patients (worldwide) accessed their electronic health records (EHRs) over the past year and 72% are willing to share with insurance carriers personal data collected from their wearable devices. Superior Wi-Fi performance can help provide better clinical services, meet modern day expectations and ultimately improve patient care and outcomes.

 

Find out more about how the right Wi-Fi healthcare solution can help improve patient care,  increase workflow efficiency, lower TCO and help you better manage your budgets, all while providing clinicians, patients and visitors with a superior mobile experience.

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