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Network Modernization Is Vital To The Future of Healthcare

Key Highlights

  • COVID-19 completely changed healthcare business models, creating tremendous demand for telehealth services and increasing the count of connected systems, users, devices, and applications.
  • The modernization of healthcare has been booming for over a decade.
  • Still, several organizations in this industry need to be more budget-constrained and risk-averse, which leads to long innovation cycles.

Currently, IT teams are facing the challenge of meeting the demands of these evolving healthcare environments. Whether it’s a hospital, a virtual physician, or a remote clinic, users expect a similar type of service, security, and reliability across various “pockets of care” that the pandemic has created.

Recently, Extreme Networks organized a webinar on “Diagnosing the Keys to IT Security, Efficiency, and Simplicity for Healthcare,” where a panel of IT professionals from Extreme, Novant Health, and OSF HealthCare discussed the critical role networking plays in enabling new services/ applications and delivering patient care. They explained best practices for secure, flexible, and reliable healthcare networks and also the technologies they used to build them within their organizations.

Challenges Identified In The Webinar

Their webinar noticed six foundational challenges that the healthcare industry is facing currently:

  • budget constraints
  • regulations/processes
  • staffing shortages
  • an aging society
  • the growth of telehealth
  • data security.

Especially regarding data security, the panelists unanimously accepted that the healthcare industry had been a primary target of cyberattacks since the pandemic started. According to data shared by Extreme during the webinar, 82 per cent of healthcare workers have experienced an Internet of Things (IoT)-focused cyberattack, while ransomware cost hospitals approximately $21 billion in losses last year alone.

Rob Hale, senior manager of technical engineering at Novant Health, a four-state integrated network of physician clinics, outpatient centers, and hospitals, said that number one on the list is cybersecurity globally. During a ransomware attack, systems are down; if they cannot provide clinicians with the data they need, that’s the worst-case scenario. Not having systems available could be a matter of life and death.

The transformation that the healthcare industry experienced over the last couple of years will continue. Organizations must react to changes soon by making their networks as automated as possible.

What Does Extreme Recommend?

Extreme suggests that organizations adopt IT-enabled healthcare deliverables, including digitizing and modernizing existing networks, improving operational efficiency, prioritizing cybersecurity and risk management, creating a superior patient and clinician experience.

Addressing these primary deliverables will ensure that networks are running smoothly and securely while patients get the care they require, wherever they may be.

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