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The Digital Hospital: Top 3 Networking Priorities

By Monique Lucey, HP Networking Group Industry Solutions Marketing 

 

small doctor.jpgI recently had the opportunity to experience the benefits of a digital hospital first hand when a family member suffered a serious injury and required emergency medical attention. Countless hours of waiting for updates provided an opportunity for me to reflect on the significant impact of technology in facilitating medical treatment, collaboration between medical teams and enabling family members to communicate beyond hospital walls via smartphones, tablets and laptops and do their own medical research via the web. In this blog, I will highlight the top 3 networking priorities for making the digital hospital a reality.

 

What’s at risk?

 

As healthcare organizations increase their dependence on technology, any lack of access to patient data is a matter of life or death. Time spent waiting for doctors to review lab results, view images or provide critical medical treatment puts patients at risk. Medical mistakes due to missing information, medication inaccuracy or manual processes result in hundreds of thousands of deaths which could be avoided.

Hospitals need networks that allow myriad hospital systems to tie together so that medical staff can quickly and easily share information. When a patient presses a nurse call button, the nurse needs to be able to communicate directly with the patient to understand what they need before walking to the patient’s room.  You’ll have to make it possible for a physician doing rounds to easily pull up his patient’s most recent MRI on his tablet. In other words, you’ll need to gain control of networks that have evolved organically and ensure bandwidth, security and visibility for mission critical applications.

 

Many hospitals and healthcare partners are finding it difficult to support such advances while managing rising costs due to constraints in their legacy proprietary networks. Managing separate wired and wireless networks introduces complexity and a lack of flexibility. Proprietary networks are too costly and complex to allow healthcare organizations to roll out exciting new applications.nurse_45.jpg

 

Top 3 networking priorities for digital hospitals:

 

Converged network and compute infrastructure

 

Digital hospitals need to converge and secure their data center network with compute and storage to leverage shared pools of interoperable resources. You’ll require simplified and scalable switching, network security and network services to ensure that applications have the resources they need, and deploying new applications won’t negatively impact existing applications and services. This means fewer resources required, faster deployment and the ability to react to changing needs of your organization.

 

Flexible, secure networking

 

The healthcare industry is under pressure to provide new patient services and improve patient outcomes, while simultaneously increasing data protection and increasing costs. You need to create campus and branch networks as functional building blocks that meet the specific requirements of their applications and services while integrating seamlessly with the overall network. This will allow you to create best-in-class solutions for each network segment, rather than being locked into a one-size-fits-all solution allowing you to deliver mobile and wired access seamlessly for improved collaboration.

 

Orchestrated management

 

As many healthcare organizations consider how best to consolidate their infrastructure, they are challenged by the need to manage and secure disparate systems. Addressing these issues is critical because lapses in management can lead to security breaches and network outages that can have serious repercussions such as public disclosure of patient information, failure of critical applications used during sensitive procedures, an inability to access patient data , a potential disruption to critical healthcare applications, delayed billing cycles, or worse.

 

Unified features and integrated networking components enable IT departments to consolidate and centralize network management while maintaining a clear view and control of the network environment. This improves traffic management so that real-time applications such as electronic medical record (EMRs) or remote monitoring tools such as eICU systems can receive the high priority and low latency they require.

 

I’m interested in hearing about your digital hospital initiatives:

  • What steps are you taking to prepare your network for digitization?
  • If you’re already a digital hospital, what networking challenges did you face?

 

Please share your experiences.

 

>> Learn more about the Instant-On Enterprise

>> Learn more about HP FlexNetwork and healthcare solutions

 

 

 

 

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