When we think of healthcare, rarely does the word ‘connectivity’ spring to mind. In fact, we’re probably more used to the idea that computers make us sick, rather than making us well. However, the modern healthcare system could not function without reliable, secure and consistent connectivity and the innumerable services it offers. From acute care to community databases, Pathology to Prognosis and Neurology to Nutrition, nothing within the modern healthcare system is not touched by connectivity. Some of the ways in which networks and connectivity support our healthcare system are both novel and fascinating. However, what is even more interesting than what networks already do for healthcare, is the pivotal role they are going to play in the future of medicine.
We’ve got an app for that
One key function that networks have in modern healthcare is the hosting of applications. Certain hospitals estimate that their networks host between 800 and 1500 individual applications, each of significant importance to administration or patient care. Applications can perform functions varying from the analysis of MRI or PET scans to the sharing of patient information between specialists. Without a robust, secure network capable of high speed and intelligent capacity control, this level of usage would simply be impossible. Less than a decade ago these kinds of functions were beyond the imaginings of some and were out of reach of all but a few. Now, with strong networks and consistent connectivity, healthcare providers can freely use applications for an infinite variety of tasks, saving both time and lives.
Communication is key
A second critical function of networks within healthcare is the ability to instantly communicate across large distances. Gone are the days when specialists had to be flown in from far afield to assess a particularly difficult case. Now a video conference and the sharing of patient data is often enough, and in a sector where time can mean everything, the impact of this is massive. A crucial, often-overlooked aspect of this service is security. Healthcare providers necessarily deal with the most sensitive, personal information a person can possess and therefore have a duty of care to patients’ data, as well as the patients themselves. Modern networks provide this security, allowing for peace of mind for patient and staff alike. People interacting with these networks can rest safe in the knowledge that whilst they are in safe hands, so is their data.
These features of networks are undeniably essential to the day-to-day running of our contemporary healthcare system, however what cannot be overstated is the impact that they’re going to have on the future of global healthcare. Of course, applications will be updated, and communication systems will be improved, however there are several revolutions coming for medicine, all supported by networks and connectivity.
One of the most prominent ‘revolutions’ healthcare commentators anticipate of is the introduction of virtual and augmented reality. These technologies are going to have massive impacts on both training and practice. Imagine a surgeon who has practised on hundreds of perfectly simulated patients before they ever come to operate on a living one and you begin to see the potential of these technologies. Another key leap forward is likely to be the birth of ‘real time medicine’, in which we go from a reactive to a proactive healthcare system. Implanted sensors, smart monitors and ‘aware’ infrastructure will lower our reliance on ‘feeling unwell’ and will alert us as soon as something is amiss. These advances are some of the next big things in healthcare and they rely entirely on networks and connectivity.
On top form
At Convergence, we’re already heavily involved with supplying connectivity to the healthcare sector. Our various accreditations confirm that we have earned the right to provide such critical infrastructure due to our high standards and professional approach. We take pride in our networks which are used by clinicians to save lives every day. We know that security, resiliency, availability and speed are crucial to any healthcare network and we use our expertise to build these into our solutions.