Patient-first care, data-intensive medical applications, telehealth wearables, AI, IoT and beyond — what do all these have in common? Not only are they all wholly redefining what healthcare services look like in the digital era, but they all require one key enabler: a highly advanced network.
As new value is being cultivated in healthcare through technology — and as patients come to expect a heightened level of hands-on care — hospitals and other organizations need to be prepared to deliver, or risk being quickly outpaced. On-demand, remote, and highly personalized services are digitally transformative (and necessary) innovations, but they require digitally transformed IT architecture to function. For organizations looking to stay ahead of the curve, it’s time to take stock of how networking might need to change to cater to new capabilities.
What Opportunities Await?
The global digital health market was worth an estimated $175 billion in 2019. Yet, as demand for — and investment in — new technologies expands, this market now has an expected CAGR of almost 25% from 2019 to 2025, potentially reaching a value of around $660 billion dollars by 2025. The truth of the matter is that improved patient outcomes and experiences now depend on data. Healthcare institutions are gathering more information in order to make more informed decisions, and that information needs to become more mobile between specialists, locations,and more — while also becoming faster and more secure.
This upward trend in technology investment has only been accelerated by the 2020 pandemic. When patients could not come to the doctors, or when hospitals became overwhelmed, the need for innovative applications, streamlined processes and remote services became acute. In fact, in 2020, over $4.2 billion in funding was provided for telemedicine, making it the most funded category by far — followed by data analytics and health apps.
In practice, these analytics and applications can take many forms. In some cases, 3D modeling or augmented reality could become the new normal for optimizing surgeries with greater visibility. For patients at home, wearable devices that monitor key vital signs could be used to keep doctors in the loop even from afar or give patients more autonomy in their care for greater freedom. Artificial Intelligence — when applied to Big Data — could be used to enhance preventative care, reduce the instances of human error, or even help with staffing and occupancy rates for more effective hospital operations. The opportunities are seemingly endless — but before this value can be leveraged and offered to the masses, healthcare organizations likely have some work to do.
What Healthcare IT Leaders Must Consider
Healthcare data is some of the most private and sensitive information out there, and as the amount being generated grows (and the number of places it needs to go expands), protecting that data is becoming a bigger challenge. The patient’s trust is paramount, and once it’s lost, it’s lost for good. Data breaches and unsecured IT strategies can be devastating to any organization, but the healthcare industry is most vulnerable. Building the right solution can be a daunting task to undertake (unless you have the right ally — more on that later), but network evolution can’t wait.
The first step in building the right network solution is ensuring the backbone is totally secure and private. Information should avoid the public internet wherever possible to limit points of failure and give the organization control over the sensitive information that flows through the network. In this case, EP-LAN and EVP-LAN Fiber Ethernet can help. This solution can offer point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, or multipoint-to-multipoint architectures — all with private Ethernet that offers high levels of redundancy, diversity and speed. Dark fiber also delivers security through private transfer, with added scalability that caters to growing data volumes.
Furthermore, when creating a fully empowered network architecture, getting the best of the best means getting flexible, customized solutions that cater to individual needs and geographical requirements. Here’s what brings a network transformation together and aligns organizations with long-term success — the right fiber partner. A trusted network ally is the secret sauce for keeping pace with new technologies because they’ll work closely with organizations to give them exactly what they need.
The Key to Building Tomorrow’s Service Success
Keep this in mind: The right infrastructure partner won’t try to fit healthcare institutions onto a legacy network — they’ll build it new for the customer in a fully optimized way. This is what Horizon does best. For decades, Horizon has been a partner to healthcare, helping organizations achieve the highest quality connection with the fastest speeds and security possible.
No matter what innovations come or how the world of healthcare continues to change, institutions need to be ready to capture any and all value that emerges. At the core of this agility is networking — and at the core of networking is a partnership that truly delivers.
To learn how one healthcare provider transformed their capabilities with the right solutions and experts on board, read our Hopewell case study here.