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Changing Healthcare Industry Needs Changing Technology

With the many recent changes in healthcare administration and delivery, the healthcare industry has become one of the most highly regulated and quickly changing industries in the United States. As the industry grows, many of the biggest trends in healthcare require easy communication, interoperability, data security and streamlined processing. And, without cost-effective, high-quality technology, it’s difficult for healthcare providers to meet the challenges and use the trends to their advantage.

New technologies are helping providers improve access to care, while making sure patients and providers are having an easier, more high-quality experience. Unfortunately, because of the cost and learning curve associated with most technology and telecommunication companies, providers have an uneven level of adoption. Adding to the challenge is complex government regulation regarding access to care, security and privacy. As a result, healthcare organizations are searching for solutions that will help them meet the many needs of patients, while working within new regulations.

The key to many of these problems is finding tech solutions that address not only current needs, but offer enough flexibility to adapt to future changes. A piecemeal approach to technology that too many providers have been forced into is simply no longer cutting it, so organizations are looking for vendors that offer total solutions.

Healthcare providers looking for ways to reach more people, provide more convenience and offer even better services, are turning to technologies such as virtual medicine kiosks, mobile e-health devices and digital hospital rooms that allow physicians and other clinicians to remotely diagnose, monitor and treat their patients. Other technologies are becoming very common, such as electronic health records, which are making patient records more transferrable, accurate and accessible. More things being digitized means data is more easily shared within and across the entire healthcare system. As a result, patients have the comfort of knowing the correct information will always be available to any healthcare provider they see and they’ll be getting the best care possible.

With consolidation between providers and health networks, IT professionals are facing the growing task of building a unified technology infrastructure. Coordinating technology between offices and locations enables healthcare providers to communicate easily, have better continuity of patient care and more organized and complete electronic health records.

With the promise of better care that electronic healthcare data brings, comes possible concerns about privacy and security of patient data. Health records have sensitive medical information, in addition to identifying personal information, and security is a top concern for records in the cloud as well as in the hospital itself. Increased use of technology opens up new potential security weaknesses and possibilities for violating HIPPA regulations.

Digitization and mobility of data is changing the face of healthcare. Technology today must adapt to future challenges and anticipate the many needs of healthcare delivery – one of the most critical needs being effectively managing patient data.

Although a few healthcare organizations are able to handle the needs of an ever-growing system, for many the push toward electronic healthcare records and other data is putting a huge strain on networks. Without the capacity to handle files that are so much larger than in the past, with traffic hundreds of times bigger than ever before, networks are bending under the pressure. Imaging files alone are so much more massive than anything used in the past that networks are struggling to keep up. And, the security necessary for electronic health records must be something providers can rely on as they digitize more records and add new applications to their practices.

Many healthcare organizations are turning to Ethernet to handle the demands of their growing, bandwidth-hungry data applications. Ethernet’s blend of capacity, security and scalability make it ideal to support the new technological core of healthcare at much lower costs than older technologies such as legacy T1 lines.

Utah Cancer Specialists is just one of the many healthcare providers making the change to Comcast Ethernet and Business Internet services to connect their 12 locations and keep up with their growing technological needs. With a data center and administration office, nine clinics and two cancer centers, Utah Cancer Specialists sees hundreds of patients a day, and must transfer high resolution images and data-heavy patient files between locations. Ethernet allowed them to provide different services at each location to keep their amazing work running smoothly.

In considering their needs, healthcare IT professionals should look for a service that offers a private fiber optic network with carrier-grade data and Internet services. Because of the need for healthcare around the clock, extra redundancy should be built into the network design to maximize availability. And, in order to have seamless connectivity between data centers, the network should be robust enough to support multiple functions. Ethernet also means data can be securely transferred over the provider’s network rather than public Internet. In order to optimize application performance and strengthen communication and collaboration, it is critical that healthcare organization re-evaluate network infrastructure now so they are ready for the future.

Partnering with a trusted Ethernet network provider, such as Comcast Business, simplifies the solutions to healthcare challenges. They will help design and support advanced network solutions so healthcare organizations can focus on what they do best.

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