The number of digital tools in the healthcare industry has exploded, including thousands of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, network-based communications, intricate data storage and access mechanisms, and more. The marriage between healthcare and tech necessitates enhanced connectivity systems to make sure patients get the care they need. By ensuring all staff has the connectivity they need, it’s necessary to eliminate costly — and potentially harmful — delays. At the same time, this makes it easier for people to access the information they need to make more informed decisions.
Challenges Faced by Healthcare Institutions Regarding Bandwidth
There’s no shortage of bandwidth-related challenges, primarily because healthcare has grown increasingly dependent on data sharing.
Many new technologies require significant bandwidth so they can function. Consider an example: Hospitals that use robotic surgery need to enable remote surgeons the ability to see what’s happening in real-time,1 as well as control devices used in the operative process. Significant latency or dropouts could result in failed or delayed surgeries.
Multiple IoT Devices Used in Patient Care
IoT devices are omnipresent in healthcare, enabling easier access to information and streamlining and improving patient care. For instance, some patients have implants, such as pacemakers or monitoring devices, that have to transmit or receive information from the internet or a local intranet.
These devices need constant, reliable connectivity to function correctly. Imagine a smart bed that’s designed to monitor patient movement loses connectivity.2 The patient then slips off the bed and ends up spending several hours on the floor. If the bed had been properly connected to the intranet, the patient would’ve enjoyed a much better stay.
Data-Intensive Medical Imaging
Medical imaging has become more data-intensive, especially because now doctors and other decision-makers need access to the images hospitals and dedicated imaging centers produce. For instance, new apps that give doctors access to medical imaging, such as MRIs and X-rays, can be very bandwidth-heavy. Large files must traverse the facility’s internet — and in time to help physicians make critical decisions.
AI applications need large streams of data to enable automation and analytical processes. For example, a machine learning (ML) process that helps billing departments identify fraud needs to access thousands of records and compare them against the one being presented to it. In order to flag a pattern that looks fraudulent, the ML needs to examine thousands — or millions — of details in a matter of moments. If it can’t access the records it needs due to connectivity issues, a fraudster could scam the hospital for thousands of dollars.
Monitoring Patients in Real Time
A single nurse or doctor can monitor several patients at the same time with real-time monitoring solutions.3 But these need adequate connectivity to function. Whether it’s live video or readings from medical monitoring devices, the information these systems have to receive needs to traverse a reliable connection. Bolstering connectivity frees up healthcare workers to focus on tasks other than frequently checking in on patients.
How Adequate Bandwidth Transforms Healthcare
Once there is enough bandwidth, many things become possible:
- Seamless patient care without interruptions from malfunctioning tech. For instance, a system that monitors patients with sleep apnea can produce accurate readings throughout the night, providing a real-time heads-up if there’s a breathing issue.
- Efficient data transfer and storage. When patient and machine data can move efficiently through the network, it’s easier to make split-second decisions. For example, glucose monitors can deliver blood sugar levels in real-time, ensuring that diabetes patients aren’t put at risk.
- Enhanced remote consultations. When consulting with a patient or another physician remotely, adequate bandwidth prevents dropouts or glitchy communications that detract from the experience.
- Real-time access to patient data. With sufficient bandwidth, staff can see patient records, imaging, test results, and more when it’s necessary to make time-sensitive decisions.
Cox Business’s Solutions for Healthcare Bandwidth Challenges
Cox provides unique solutions that give healthcare organizations the bandwidth they need to keep up with 21st-century expectations.
Business Class Internet: Benefits of High-Speed, Reliable Connections
With Cox Business, healthcare facilities get high-speed internet they can depend on. This gives them the ability to support even the most data-heavy applications, from healthcare record systems to telemedicine and remote surgery.
With Cox Internet, the user can scale up or down as they need, adding or subtracting bandwidth when the situation demands. They can also deploy more bandwidth for certain operations. For instance, if it’s necessary to upgrade the NICU to one that supports more IoT devices that monitor infant health, Cox can provide the bandwidth the center needs.
Experience in the Healthcare Industry
When it comes to the healthcare industry, Cox has a thorough understanding of the necessary bandwidth requirements. Thanks to years spent serving the healthcare sector, Cox knows what different operations and devices need as well as how to make sure the bandwidth is available when necessary.
Cloud Solutions that Enable Best Practices for Modern Healthcare
Cox’s cloud solutions give healthcare facilities data management and storage systems that make sure they have access to their most important data. They also get advanced data security to make sure they remain in line with HIPAA and other data protection standards. This makes it easier to streamline data-heavy processes and provide access to cloud-based apps caregivers need to provide the best experiences.
Private Networks that Ensure Data Security
Cox provides private networks that keep patient data and medical information away from the clutches of hackers. For example, with Cox, the user can transmit information regarding the treatments patients have undergone, how different prescriptions helped, and how patients have progressed over several weeks. All of this is possible without exposing patient data to attackers or insiders who may otherwise stumble into the wrong application.
Real-time location tracking and monitoring
With Cox Prosight With Cox Prosight’s Real-time Location Services (RTLS) platform, hospital staff can track and monitor the location of assets, people, and environments throughout the hospital to increase operational efficiency, streamline workflows, and enhance patient and staff experiences.
Implementing a Comprehensive Bandwidth Strategy
Implementing a comprehensive bandwidth strategy involves a series of steps that give the user a systematic, reliable solution. The implementation system should include:
- Auditing how bandwidth is currently used. This may reveal connectivity gaps an upgraded solution could address.
- Forecasting the demands that may come up in the future. A thoughtful forecast can make it easier to get enough bandwidth to last several years — even in the context of more technological advancements.
- Choosing the right provider (Hint: Cox Business). Healthcare facilities need a provider like Cox Business that’s familiar with exactly what healthcare facilities need and knows how to implement the most effective solutions.
- Ensuring scalability and flexibility. Healthcare changes frequently, and with a scalable, flexible system comes the confidence that the bandwidth can bend and flex in line with whatever’s on the horizon. The key is to set up a system that can accommodate the bandwidth demands of multiple networks in a variety of connectivity circumstances.
- Training staff according to best practices. Staff should be taught how to use — and avoid using — apps and devices with bandwidth concerns in mind. For instance, a doctor may not need to have an app that accesses medical imaging in real-time running after they’ve administered treatment.
- Periodic reviews and adjustments. Each network and application that needs connectivity should be periodically reviewed to make sure they don’t suffer from latency or outages due to insufficient bandwidth. If problems are discovered, there may be ways to optimize the network to improve performance.
Customize Bandwidth with Cox Business
Having adequate bandwidth positions healthcare facilities to provide cutting-edge services that better serve patients. At the same time, it makes the work of doctors, nurses, and staff a lot easier. The future for healthcare tech looks bright, promising more advancements that require connectivity. With this in mind, it’s possible to make sure the facility can keep up with shifting requirements.
The undeniable fact is that bandwidth has become the backbone of modern healthcare. With the promise of further advancements on the horizon, healthcare institutions must evolve to meet these challenges head-on. Adopting state-of-the-art solutions, such as those provided by Cox Business, can help institutions stay ahead in this race.
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