Can you remember a time when telehealth appointments were the exception and not the rule? Oh, how things have changed! Recent developments have caused a surge in the number of providers, hospitals, and healthcare facilities establishing a virtual healthcare model—creating a new need to deliver reliable digital experiences for both their patients and healthcare providers.
Healthcare IT teams face daunting technical challenges as they work to ensure network bandwidth, end-to-end security, and resilience to meet the needs of telemedicine, connected devices, and hybrid work and workspaces. Here are a few factors you must mitigate if you want to deliver better digital healthcare experiences.
Maintain network performance
The design of a large hospital’s network is very similar to that of most large campus networks, with a few differences. The main purpose of a hospital is to provide services to patients and guests. At any time, the hospital is likely to have extensive guest services across its sites. Securely and reliably handling wireless guests across multiple sites is an operational challenge. Another difference is that hospital networks contain massive amounts of medical devices such as monitors, pumps, medical-grade stations, servers, and imaging equipment. Add to this the complexity of needing additional bandwidth to enable virtual healthcare, and IT has their work cut out for them.
In short, capacity is the key. In a 2021 survey, IDG Communications found that 92 percent of IT leaders have increased network bandwidth capacity to accommodate an influx of connected devices from virtual doctor visits, pop-up clinics, and new work-from-home requirements.1
Fortify security against cyberattacks
With the shift to hybrid network access comes increased security risks, as shown by the fact that healthcare cyberattacks doubled in 2020, with nearly a third linked to ransomware.2 Additionally, cyberthreats are four times more likely to be centered on healthcare than any other industry, and ransomware attacks are increasing in popularity due to the amount of privileged information the hacker can obtain.3
And, with the average data breach costing over $7 million, more than any other industry,4 healthcare establishments simply cannot afford the costs of cyberattacks. Medical data breaches can devastate a healthcare organization’s reputation, bottom line, and, most importantly, impact patient trust, safety, and outcomes. Securing healthcare data is more than an IT or business decision—it’s critical to optimal patient outcomes.
Close the skills gap
Unfortunately, many healthcare IT organizations do not have the skills or expertise to handle the needs of telehealth, hybrid workforces, and medical IoT while at the same time keeping their network running smoothly. Research shows that it takes roughly 117 days to fill a position, and many teams are not trained for mobile environments, intrusion detection, attack prevention, forensics, or testing in various healthcare settings.3 Healthcare IT needs a leader in networking and security who can help them navigate the new world of virtual healthcare with best practices for telehealth solutions deployed in their environment, as well as increase the proficiency of their IT teams through expert knowledge transfer.
Learn how Cisco Business Critical Services helped the University of Maryland Medical System shift their workforce of 28,000 to remote as well as secure and scale their operations—fast.
Cisco Business Critical Services for Healthcare IT
To enable new telehealth models, hybrid workforces, and connected devices today as well as meet your constantly evolving healthcare needs tomorrow, you need an integrated strategy and a skilled workforce. And you need the ability to unlock increased capacity and resources to scale as your requirements and goals change and your business grows. Reach out to your Cisco representative or partner today and see how Cisco Business Critical Services can help you create a better digital experience for healthcare IT.
3Blackbook Research, 2020