Health care access, affordability, and quality are key considerations all around the world. There are well-established disparities based on income and geography, and the high costs of health care present affordability challenges for millions of healthcare players and companies around the globe.
Analysts at Gartner forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. This meteoric rise of mHealth – the use of wireless mobile communication technology to deliver healthcare services – is a stark testimony to the value of employing wireless in healthcare.It’s not surprising that healthcare organizations and governments are quickly adopting wireless communications.
But while wireless connectivity is driving a high degree of disruptive innovation & becoming a basic need for all health care facilities. The ability of caregivers to roam cordless & access electronic health records (EHRs), wireless point of care, wellness management & remote medical compliance anytime, anywhere are essential yet overlooked aspects of bettering workflow efficiency, reducing the cost of care and, ultimately, improve the quality of client outcomes.
And thoughtful consideration and careful decisions must be given to the technology acquisition process of wireless systems and services. Taking from this we have identified the top 5 critical wireless questions issues that healthcare CTOs should be asking.
Q1. Has my organization defined a wireless ecosystem strategy for all the components that will impact business success ?
Using an integrated All-In-1 Self-deployable enterprise systems approach will help to navigate through the fog of complexity and risk while procuring network architecture. In defining the strategy, the CTO must consider a broad point of view to ensure organizational alignment:
Here are some questions to ask:
- What are the goals and measurable objectives of the organization?
- What are the different use cases?
- What are the dependencies? Are service level agreements required? If so, what are the on-going operations, maintenance and administration hurdles?
- What are device and wireless network structure lifecycle?
- What are the total costs of ownership for budgeting?
- What are the impacts and reach of coverage in terms of different locations within the healthcare campus and remote out of office setups and how can they be used to maximize project success?
- Who are the partners and collaborators, that should be involved the process?
Q2. Will our business plans reflect the full potential of wireless technology to improve our performance?
Renewed interest in the application and use of licensed wireless solutions from wireless carriers is rapidly increasing, especially with the advent of small cells as a Micro network deployment solution compliment. But with technology comes various concerns too:
- Will it be high,since cellular technology is provided in licensed spectrum.
- Will it boost the operating performance of the business and drive revenues & still reduce overall costs as cellular coverage is relatively pervasive outside of venues, and demand for coverage inside healthcare facilities is growing.
- How to alleviates bandwidth, scaling and load balancing issues associated with having Wi-Fi for voice and data services. And also be able to support both wifi & cellular modalities to a broad spectrum of employee, customers, and clients, including first responders.
With the right agreement on the scale and scope of the opportunity and threat, the level of investment in IT becomes an outcome rather than a constraint.
Questions to ask:
- Does our wireless strategy consider the emerging impacts and changes around “licensed wireless solutions” from carriers?
- Has the P&L opportunity and threat from IT been quantified ?
- Will our current plans fully capture the opportunity and neutralize the threat?
- What is the time horizon of these plans, and have they been factored into future financial projections for both healthcare business and IT?
Q3. Does the network take advantage of machine-to-machine, medical telemetry and biosensors?
Wireless connectivity solutions may be broadly classified into macro network (i.e., cellular LTE), micro network (i.e., small cell) and near field network (eg. Bluetooth). The critical component of mHealth and Healthcare communications is most commonly implemented via M2M, and it is attractive for a number of reasons.
- First, the cost profile, design form and battery life, especially since lots of healthcare tech is becoming wearable& used for patient monitoring, equipment’s and devices are compliant to disease management standards and healthcare metrics (i.e., hand-washing stations for clinicians in the OT).
- M-Health communications are secure and private, and inherently resistant to macro interference given their short range.
- Has ease of integration with other cellular & data networks from a wireless backhaul perspective.
Q4. What return will an investment in wireless produce?
A key aspect of this requires an understanding of wireless technology lifecycles and wireless archetypes in terms of their scalability (to eliminate fork-lift upgrades), extensibility and interoperability, including service support. Other considerations include determining how to manage the micro level wireless services and relative expenses and control and management of organizational use of wireless services (especially given BYOD).
Questions to ask:
- What is our operating model for IT, and is it aligned with our business priorities?
- Who is accountable for delivering business value from IT—both overall and by activity?
- Are those accountable being measured using business-friendly scorecards that create the right incentives?
- What is our plan for hospital/organization network upgrading capabilities?
- What are the weakest links in our healthcare campus and estate capabilities?
Q5. What type of operational strategy is required to support the plan?
Advances in technology devices and wireless networking options are contributing to the rise of the use of wireless in healthcare. And development of a wireless strategy that includes the tactical operational steps is essential for proper execution, reducing risk and achieving wireless infrastructure excellence. Hence understanding the critical wireless issues outlined will provide an excellent foundation for developing a wireless strategy that meets the challenges and opportunities and addresses the root causes of operations risks that lie ahead.
Questions to ask:
- Do we have a comprehensive understanding of the IT, mobility networks risks?
- How is our level of network security and data privacy risk measured, and is it aligned with the company’s overall risk appetite?
- How are we reducing our IT risk on an ongoing basis?
- Who is responsible for overseeing the level of IT risk?
The bottom line is that all of them likely have a role to play depending on the application of sustainable micro wireless network deployment and when it comes to coverage and capacity solutions—The end goal is an overall cost-reduction while delivering high-quality health care.
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