Infrastructure Framework for a Rapid Healthcare Transformation

by Sanjiv Verma

By 2022, India’s healthcare sector is expected to reach US$ 372 billion. To further support the country’s integrated digital health infrastructure, the National Health Authority (NHA) launched the PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission. The mission aims to address critical health sector gaps, including augmenting health facilities for treatment, setting up Integrated Public Health Laboratory (IPHL) for disease diagnosis, and expanding existing research institutions that study pandemics. Healthcare is transforming, as evidenced by the trend toward digitally enhanced care, increased government investment, and improved access to healthcare data.

Hospitals and other organisations in the healthcare ecosystem rely more than ever on the network infrastructure to ensure a secure, accurate and reliable flow of information. While the majority of healthcare data from connected medical devices is stored on cloud, sensitive patient information must be handled and safeguarded under legal and regulatory standards. Data security and privacy is a critical challenge.

Few commercial spaces can even approach the data processing needs of a modern healthcare institution or hospital. The fast and dependable movement of information is mission critical. Hence, healthcare data must serve distributed staff and patients requiring far-reaching connectivity.

Additionally, the global value of the internet of medical things market will hit US$158 billion this year. The growth of health-focused internet of things (IoT) devices and wearables, adoption of telemedicine, clinical informatics and rising healthcare data breaches have led healthcare institutions to invest in modernising infrastructure.

Here are three crucial factors that public and commercial healthcare organisations should consider as they begin their transformation and innovation journey.

Patient safety, data security in digitalised healthcare
The conventional face-to-face interaction between doctors and patients and the healthcare methods are gradually being replaced by remote consultations and care models backed by technology. This growing trend has put modern healthcare networks under immense pressure to meet increasing demand for telemedicine all while spotlighting patient safety, staff security and privacy.

Today, data collected by wearables and mobile health applications is being transformed into actionable insights to enhance patient care and advance medical best practices.

Apart from data centres hosting confidential patient and medical data, patient care is governed by regulations, and lives rely on the network. This makes standards-compliant connectivity—from the server room to emergency room, from nursery to the nurse’s station—critical.

Infrastructure security must prevent unauthorised access by an unauthorised person. Additionally, it should also detect and repel unauthorised access by an authorised person by tracking all changes to the physical layer in real time.

IT-operations technology synergies for smart, efficient healthcare
Modern healthcare organisations rely on timely flow of information for efficient operations. Faced with mounting pressure, healthcare operations are increasingly in need of solutions that help optimise operational expenditure (OpEx) as critical systems become more connected and capable.

To achieve industry’s ultimate success metric—improved patient outcomes and patient experience—IT and operational technology teams can create joint avenues of efficiency. For example, a shared physical network can unlock the potential for more efficient network administration and facilities operations.

Working together on a converged network, IT and operations technology teams globally are leveraging IoT capabilities that have led to exponential growth in the number of wired and wireless network devices as well as requirements for PoE.

For example, Wi-Fi 6/6E is connecting smart beds, oxygen monitoring devices, and real-time access to X-rays, among other staff alert and patient monitoring applications. IoT adoption has also gained traction in lighting, HVAC, physical security, asset tracking, smart parking, smart locks and security cameras. These real-world IoT deployments operate on a complex and costly array of network protocols, equipment and disparate management tools.

Patient experience at the heart of healthcare future
Healthcare is transforming—with patient experience at the heart of everything from patient care delivery to personalised healthcare. Adoption of digital technologies helps to improve remote patient monitoring and care delivery to achieve the best possible outcomes. Meanwhile, simplified, and automated processes can significantly enhance the patient experience, staff efficiency, recruitment, and inventory monitoring and control.

The bottom line is that while healthcare organisations embrace next-generation services like telemedicine and virtual ICU centres, there must be a careful balance between operational efficiency and patient experiences. Artificial intelligence (AI) and big data analytics provides insights that improve patient care while reducing healthcare costs.

According to an Accenture report, 84 percent of healthcare executives believe AI will fundamentally alter how healthcare providers gain patient information and interact with consumers. For instance, AI systems that analyse data from IoT solutions, electronic medical records, DNA testing, genome sequencing, and personal health devices, assist clinicians in tailoring care and experiences for each patient.

Sanjiv Verma, Vice President, Asia Pacific, Ruckus Networks, CommScope

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETHealthworld does not necessarily subscribe to it. shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person / organisation directly or indirectly.)


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