Network Visibility for the Delivery of Quality Healthcare
April 03, 2018

Michael Segal
NetScout

Share this

Healthcare, in common with many other industries, is undergoing a significant digital transformation. As resources and purse strings become ever tighter, healthcare providers are becoming increasingly dependent on advancements in digital technology to enable them to do more with less.

The ability for healthcare practitioners and patients alike to securely access to electronic medical records (EMR) in real time, for example, not only improves an organization's operational efficiency, but can also enable more accurate diagnosis of a patient's condition, and inform their ongoing treatment plan.

Similarly, the introduction of e-prescriptions and the expansion of Wi-Fi connectivity throughout hospitals and doctors' surgeries have led to a reduction in administrative burden, freeing up frontline operatives to allow them to focus more on delivering high-quality services to their patients.

What's more, the ongoing adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT), and the use of connected wearable devices in particular, has opened up new, innovative ways of monitoring patients' health and measuring the effect of their treatment.

However, while the health and efficiency benefits of this digital transformation are clear, it is having an impact on the IT networks that power today's healthcare providers. The increased complexity that comes with the introduction of these new technologies is responsible for performance issues and potential vulnerabilities, leading to a need for greater visibility into the data crossing these networks, and for a view of how better to manage the technology itself.

Protecting Patient Care

Healthcare providers never have a "typical" business day. Given the organic nature of a hospital, for example, where patients, staff and visitors are continuously moving in and out of the campus, and a wealth of different devices are being added and removed on an ongoing basis, the demand on its network and services will be unpredictable at best. It's vital, therefore, to have better insight into the performance of services across the network.

Protecting patient care in today's hyper-connected world largely depends on protecting and optimizing a healthcare provider's wired and wireless networks, and the services that run through them. Much of the functionality — the key services and applications — upon which healthcare organizations rely, tends to be multi-vendor, requiring IT teams to ensure that everything is working together without friction. Achieving visibility into this environment is complicated by the fact that these services will be running across both physical and virtualized environments as well as private, public and hybrid cloud environments, which only adds to the levels of complexity.

High Availability

While challenges around network complexity and multi-vendor, siloed technologies may not, at first glance, appear to have much bearing on delivering high-quality patient care, any issues with either the network or applications will have a knock-on effect. Delays in accessing information, for example, such as appointment times, medical images, diagnostic data or drug interactions, can have a negative impact on a patient's experience of the service.

Network downtime is a challenge for healthcare providers, even when it's scheduled. Problems can be further amplified when an outage is unscheduled due to an application error or a breach, especially when you consider that hospitals and health systems are currently being targeted by cybercriminals at a rate of almost one a day. With one in five healthcare organizations claiming to have at least 5,000 devices connected to its network, each of which represents an endpoint that could be exploited for criminal gain, any outage resulting from such an attack could potentially put patient lives at risk.

Healthcare providers will continue to adopt innovative new digital services in a bid to improve efficiency and quality. With each of these services dependent on high availability, not only to ensure the seamless delivery of care, but also the protection of patients, the need for network visibility and service assurance before, during and after their implementation has never been more critical.

Michael Segal is VP of Strategy at NetScout
Share this

The Latest

July 19, 2018

According to a recent survey, critical IT incidents cost the average organization upwards of $6 million per year. This infographic outlines 4 easy steps to automate incident management, reducing downtime and costs to organizations ...

July 17, 2018

The essential value resulting from data-driven processes has become progressively linked with analytics. Once considered a desired complement to intuitive decision-making, analytics has developed into a main focus of mission-critical applications across industries for any number of use cases ...

July 16, 2018

The question of SaaS-based technology over the past decade has quickly changed from "should we?" to "how soon can we?" even for the most customized and regulated of industries. This macro move toward SaaS has also encouraged a series of IT "best practices" that have potential impacts on the employee digital experience, organizational risk and ultimately, productivity ...

July 11, 2018

Optimization means improving the performance of your human and technology resources while keeping a watchful eye. To accomplish this, we must have clear, crisp visibility into the metrics relevant to the delivery of workspace applications to your end users and to the devices – the endpoints – they use to be productive ...

July 09, 2018

As tech headlines flash across my email, the CMDB, and its federated equivalent, the CMS, are almost never mentioned. And yet when I do research, dialog with IT, or support our consulting team, the CMDB/CMS many times still remains paramount ...

June 28, 2018

Given the size and complexity of today's IT networks it can be almost impossible to detect just when and where a security breach or network failure might occur. It's critical, therefore, that businesses have complete visibility over their IT networks, and any applications and services that run on those networks, in order to protect their customers' information, assure uninterrupted service delivery and, of course, comply with the GDPR ...

June 27, 2018

A new breed of solution has been born that simultaneously provides the precision of packet-based analytics with the speed of flow-based monitoring (at a reasonable cost). Here are more reasons to use these new NPM/APM analytics solutions ...

June 26, 2018

A new breed of solution has been born that simultaneously provides the precision of packet-based analytics with the speed of flow-based monitoring (at a reasonable cost). Here are 6 reasons to use these new NPM/APM analytics solutions ...

June 21, 2018

There’s no doubt that digital innovations are transforming industries, and business leaders are left with little or no choice – either embrace digital processes or suffer the consequences and get left behind ...

June 20, 2018

Looking ahead to the rest of 2018 and beyond, it seems like many of the trends that shaped 2017 are set to continue, with the key difference being in how they evolve and shift as they become mainstream. Five key factors defining the progression of the digital transformation movement are ...